Novato Teachers Lag Behind County and State in Average Salaries

A new online tool shows the average teacher salary in most California school districts and the news isn't good for Novato Unified educators.

Debating if public school teachers are overpaid or underpaid is a hot topic whenever cuts to education funding loom or student test scores are released.

A new online comparison tool lets the public compare average teacher salaries by school district, revealing that Novato teacher salaries lag behind the average teacher pay in California. Teachers in the Novato Unified School District were paid $62,904 on average.

Statewide, the average teacher salary declined slightly during the 2011-12 academic year to $68,531, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

In April 2012, the Novato teachers and school district officials reached a new agreement that included a 2 percent teacher pay raise.

Overall, Marin County educators are on-par with the state average.

But the California Teachers Association doesn't put much stock in the comparison tool. Teacher salary scales are configured with formulas that take into account years of experience and education level, but many young and early-career teachers have been laid off due to budget cuts in recent years.

Teacher Salaries 2011-12
School District Average Pay Student Enrollment Dixie (San Rafael) Elementary SD
1,793 Kentfield Elementary $76,351 1,177 Larkspur-Corte Madera $75,909 1,363 Mill Valley Elementary SD
Novato USD
$62,904 7,999 Reed Union Elementary SD (Tiburon) $79,999 1,401 Ross Elementary SD $75,230 346 Ross Valley Elementary SD $62,744 2,210 San Rafael City Elementary SD $62,608 2,000 Sausalito Marin City SD $70,975 396 Tamalpais Union High School District $87,497 3,839 Source: Ed-Data

California public school teachers make 16.1 percent less than other college graduates, according to the California Teachers Association. The disparity increases for those with master's degrees.

Are Novato teachers overpaid, underpaid or paid fairly? Tell us in the comment section below.

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ex principal February 14, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Comparing teachers in Ross to teachers in San Rafael and Novato is unfair. Kids from poor homes face significantly more challenges than their more privileged peers in a wealthy town. Some kids goto school without having eaten a meal, don't have adequate transportation or healthcare just to name a few. How many homeless students are there in Ross? NUSD and SR has hundreds. Try being a teacher under those circumstances. Teachers should be celebrated for their flexibility and accomplishments rather than criticized for wanting (and deserving) more competitive pay.
Brad Curtis February 14, 2013 at 03:20 PM
This is news? Novato teachers have been pointing this out by going elsewhere since i can remember, plus Novato schools can't figure out what they want to do with schools like Rancho... The district needs to go to work on this stuff, but every year it's the same lack of motion. My three kids are in the system and my wife taught here for 8 years before getting fed up and moving down the road like so many do...
Fred James February 14, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Comparing salaries alone instead of a complete compensation package doesn't represent a good comparison unless all fringe benefits, other pay, time off, ect. are the same. Is that the case among California Teachers?
Sam Roth February 14, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Novato teachers are definitely NOT overpaid!
Lloyd February 14, 2013 at 05:51 PM
That is so true! Plus NUSD has a structural deficit and is funded differently. I am always amazed how much we will spend on cars, clothes, flat screen tv and so many other luxury items but are always complaining about how much we pay those we entrust what I would consider our most valuble asset, our children. The districts with higher pay are those with the higher tax bases. You might want to throw in the fact that with all the issues ex-P points out the State still wants Novato to increase it's supply of Affordable Housing without any relief or help to our schools this un-funded mandate causes.
Ron Corkrey February 14, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I'm not sure average salary is a good measure. Pay schedules may be a better way to campare. Districts with more young teachers will be lower on the average salary measure than those with teachers with longer employment.
Brant February 14, 2013 at 06:29 PM
The data is too limited to be of any use. The average is in part determined by average tenure. That seems not to be taken into consideration. We all know that all of the children who live at Lake Woebegone are above average. Having all teachers paid above average would require the same twist of logic. What is needed is a system that rewards the best teachers. Put in place a system that accurately measures teacher effectiveness (one that controls for the many other variables) and pay the most effective an above average salary. Of course, that would leave the least effective teachers receiving a below average salary.
Andrew randolph February 14, 2013 at 06:35 PM
so your wife fled for a little more money and left your kids in what you consider low performing or average systyem rather than work to try and improve. Yep, now there is an ethos for ya!
Barbie Barbarina February 14, 2013 at 09:08 PM
1. Not news 2. Fails to dig deeper, i.e. what portion of NUSD's teachers are younger, therefore lower on the pay scale, therefore impacting the average teacher salary 3. Fails to account for cost of living issues; in my experience, many of my children's teachers live in Novato themselves, making their commute costs minimal (gas, wear and tear on car, time spent in the car, time they themselves have to spend on childcare for their children). A higher salary in a southern Marin school district may not end up being so once a teacher who lives in Novato adds up all these things; it's entirely possible he or she comes out ahead by teaching in Novato instead of commuting elsewhere 4. Ultimately, though, I do firmly believe that teachers in ALL school districts, everywhere, no matter what, should be paid MILLIONS. Their work is arguably more important than anything else the rest of us are doing. Teachers impact the world like so few other professions do, and I am eternally grateful to the teachers who dedicate their time to our children. THANK YOU, teachers!
T.Sprocket February 14, 2013 at 09:41 PM
..and what do you do for a living andrew randolph?
HistoryLover February 15, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Interesting that Reed Unified School Dist is not on the report (highest paid?) Novato is the lowest 'price per sq ft.' in Marin IJ each week, maybe the cost of living is lower here? Maybe there is a relationship to teacher pay and student performance.
Avanti Monty February 15, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Having a solid education is the most important thing we should provide for everyone that wants it and/or is required to have it.. Having a well educated populous would alleviate problems concerning race, religion ,finances, social issues and politics ( well 4 out of 5 is 80% politics will never be alleviated). Good teachers equal good students that's a proven our teachers be paid well. However as usual its all about money who can afford to pay higher salaries aka taxes. We continue to hear lagging and infuriating made up number comparisons from our water department empire, our competing utility companies, monopoly internet servers, our gargantuan garbage dynasty, and designer gas stations, Parochial school tuition's are so outrageous they require endowments and charitable contributions to provide scholarships to fill desks as well as giving up your first born.. Novato is not Ross, Belvedere, Corte Madera , Mill valley or the like when it comes to expendable money. We do have good schools and good teachers maybe we should cut the salaries and perks of the administration thereby freeing up more money for our teachers. No more bond issue's that go towards everything but the intended recipients Just say'n
Tina McMillan February 15, 2013 at 05:40 AM
http://novatonft.org/ 2009-2012 NUSD/NFT Contract I am not sure how much the increase to the teacher's salaries in 2012 made a difference, but the discrepancy between teacher's pay and administrator's pay has always been a problem in Novato. When you compare our district based on the revenues we receive, our administrators are paid far more and are teachers far less than similar districts. Novato teachers finally got a 2% raise. 25% or more of new teachers come to Novato to get training and then move to other districts to find jobs. This may be due to pay but also due to difficulties within the district itself. Families use to move to Novato for the public school system. It was the one place you could find affordable housing and great public education and still be in Marin. If you read the district's own Strategic Report since 2003 the impacts to each school have been significant. NUSD has yet to find a curriculum that can meet the needs of impacted learners. The mentality within the district is to turn a blind eye to change. The recent boundary study didn't address curriculum problems. It didn't look for new sources of revenue. It just redistributed student population. Change is needed on many levels. It begins by paying teachers a living wage.
Jerry February 15, 2013 at 07:42 AM
What needs to change is the discrimination in school funding the State gives to Novato schools. My recall is that for decades Novato has been getting 30% less in education funding than most Marin County districts and 30% less than the average of all state-wide school districts -- and that is after including the special local taxes we voted for . This has gone on for decades. As for teacher pay, all school districts should be paying teachers top dollar. We need the best and the brightest teaching our young. Look at sucessful foreign countries - good educators make the top dollar. Here we spend our top dollars for politicians and breaurcrats ...and we all know how well that's worked out for us.


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