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Education funding: Colorado in middle for teacher pay

October 21, 2013 Updated: October 21, 2013 at 6:45 am
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photo - Fifth-graders Kobe Benson, left, and Yocelin Rios work in class Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at Monroe Elementary School in Colorado Springs.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Fifth-graders Kobe Benson, left, and Yocelin Rios work in class Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at Monroe Elementary School in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Colorado is a middle-of-the-pack state in a lot of ways when it comes to education.

While the state by no means is among the top at per pupil funding, the system seems to make good use of the money it gets.

"You look at Colorado's performance, and compared with other states, we get better results and we spend less," said Josh Dunn, associate professor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Here are some of the vital statistics.

- Average teacher salary in Colorado: $49,049

- Average teacher pay in the United States: $55,418.

Colorado teachers rank 29th for teacher pay and get 88.5 percent of the average national salary. The highest teacher pay in the U.S. is in New York, at $73,398. The lowest teacher pay is in South Dakota: $38,804.

From the 2001-2002 school year to the 2011-2012 school year, Colorado teachers saw an increase of 20.6 percent in salaries in current dollars. Nationwide, it was 24.1 percent. In constant dollars, or "real value," which takes into consideration inflation, it's a different story. By that measurement, Colorado teacher salaries fell by 5.5 percent.

The average decline for teacher salaries in the U.S. during that time in constant dollars was 2.8 percent.

From the 2008-2009 school year to the 2012-2103 school year, student enrollment grew from 818,443 to 863,561, or 5.5 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Education. The number of teachers during that period also grew, from 48,740 to 48,958, just under a half of a percent. The number of principals and assistant principals climbed from 2,700 to 2,806, or 4 percent.

The number of superintendents and assistant superintendents went from 456 to 467, a 2.4 percent increase.

From the 2008-2009 school year to the 2011-2012 school year, the state's graduation rate rose, from 74.6 percent to 75.4 percent. The pupil-to-teacher ratio increased from 16.8 to 17.8. Average funding per pupil fell from $6,874 in 2008-2009 to $6,479 in 2012-2013.

Sources: Colorado Department of Education, National Education Association

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