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Infographic: A Tale of Two Teacher Salaries

A recent Bottom Line blog post, [A Tale of Two Teacher Salaries]( makes the argument that the use of average salaries in budgeting can lead to significant inequities within districts that short-change low-income students. The author, Aaron Smith, a research analyst at the Reason Foundation, outlines the differences between using average and actual salaries across two schools in a district.

“When districts pay for teachers using average salaries, it creates a loophole that allows for vast differences in dollars spent per student at the school level. These differences in actual spending on disadvantaged students circumvent the federal and state legislative intent to create specific funding streams like Title I or state funding to support low-income students. In fact, when dollars are not attached to the students and schools are given staffing positions with average salaries instead of dollars, low-income students often receive less funding than non-disadvantaged students despite the government intent to support at-risk students with extra resources.” – Lisa Snell, Director of Education, Reason Foundation

Why is this important?

District funding allocations to and across schools will be under intensified scrutiny because of changes to fiscal reporting requirements with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). For more information about the financial changes in ESSA, check out this post.

Below is an infographic explaining the differences between allocating average and actual teacher salaries to schools and the impact on district spending equity.


Click to download a PDF version of this infographic.

For more information about this research, contact Aaron Smith at Reason Foundation:

For more information about the financial changes in ESSA, contact