Wolf Says Teachers Base Salary is $18,500 – But Not in Schuylkill County
On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf posted to social media complaining that teachers don’t make enough money here.
In this image, he says the current base salary for a Pennsylvania school teacher is $18,500. Wolf says this is “not enough” and wants to raise the starting salary for teachers to $45,000.
Of course, Wolf is doing what he does best, spread misleading information and pick numbers out of thin air in an effort to appear virtuous to his base. The trouble with Wolf’s plan:
Few, if any, teachers make $18,500 a year. Certainly, none do here in Schuylkill County. And while $45,000 sounds like a wonderful idea in theory for teachers – hey, let’s all pick a fantastic salary for every profession and just make it happen – Wolf doesn’t consider where this money’s coming from and what that will do to the people responsible for paying those salaries … you.
Triggering the Base
It doesn’t matter that Wolf’s tweet is highly misleading, as you’ll see. No teacher in Schuylkill County makes $18,500. But this clickbait from the governor was enough to get the bleeding hearts throbbing:
Twitter user @lamk8ball screeches, “Wait … there are teachers out there making 18. Are you serious right now?! Who would take that job!”
Wait… there are teachers out there making ok 18k. Are you serious right now?! Who would take that job!
— kballs (@Iamk8ball) March 1, 2021
No one is taking that job, @lamk8ball. Not a soul … at least not here in Schuylkill County.
At least one self-proclaimed Democrat decided to call out the governor on his BS. @Allthingsvneck writes, “It’s political grandstanding. He says things he knows will never happen to get attention. I’m a Democrat and I can’t stand this guy.”
It’s political grand standing. He says things he knows will never happen to get attention. I’m a democrat, and I can’t stand this guy.
— The Greek (@Allthingsvneck) March 1, 2021
They’re right. Wolf knows this won’t happen. It’s an absurd tweet and an even more absurd plan. The only guaranteed result of raising teacher salaries this high so swiftly is that it puts thousands of Pennsylvanians out of their homes because they wouldn’t be able to afford the property tax hikes that surely would follow.
But Wolf just wanted to get this out in the public so his base can identify the people who “don’t support teachers” and would try to keep them at this low, mythical wage.
Schuylkill County Teacher Salaries
When we first saw Wolf’s tweet on Monday, we wondered, “Are there really teachers making just $18,500 here in Pennsylvania?”
If there are, we figured there’d be at least a few n00bs making somewhere in the neighborhood of that salary.
What we found is that not only are there no teachers in Schuylkill County making just $18,500 a year, nearly all teachers make twice that much money.
According to public information posted through OpenPA.gov, there are 1,823 teaching professionals employed at Schuylkill County school districts, Schuylkill IU, and Schuylkill Technology Centers. That number includes administrators and people in supervisory roles, classroom teachers, and a job category listed as “Coordinate Services”.
Of those more than 1,800 people, only 126 make less than $40,000. Another 27 – mostly Superintendents – make more than $100,000.
At this site, you can find the teacher salaries for each individual school district in Pennsylvania, including your own district. The latest available data is from the 2018-19 school year.
We’ll refrain from posting individual salaries in this article. Our aim is not to shame any one teacher. Do they deserve more money? Who knows? If the people funding these teacher salaries can’t afford it, then the answer is no, they don’t deserve more money. There’s no money to be had.
If you want to pay teachers that much money, find another way to fund it.
Average Salaries (By District)
So, how much does the average teacher in Schuylkill County make? Of course, it depends on the school district. And yes, we know that the average salary is different than a “base salary” but as we’ve shown, no teacher here makes anywhere near what Wolf says is the base salary here.
Teachers in some districts make considerably more than others but overall, on average, teachers are doing rather well as compared to the average income of a Schuylkill County resident.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average personal salary in Schuylkill County is $28,165. The average household brings in $52,280. From looking at these teacher salaries, they’re definitely bumping up that average on their own.
Teachers in Tamaqua Area School District make the most money among Schuylkill County schools. The average salary there is $63,100. That’s more than twice the average resident here and more than the average household. In fact, all but 3 schools pay their teachers, administrators, and support personnel, on average, more than the average Schuylkill County household brings in in a year.
After Tamaqua, Pottsville Area pays its teachers an average of $61,583 annually. Blue Mountain is third at $61,190.
The three lowest paid teachers, on average, in Schuylkill County are Williams Valley ($51,350), Saint Clair Area ($51,041), and Gillingham Charter ($43,543).
Here’s a rundown of every district:
- Tamaqua Area: $63,100
- Pottsville Area: $61,583
- Blue Mountain: $61,190
- Tri-Valley: $60,681
- North Schuylkill: $60,546
- Schuylkill IU29: $59,012
- Schuylkill Technology Centers: $58,890
- Schuylkill Haven Area: $58,602
- Shenandoah Valley: $54,564
- Pine Grove Area: $54,337
- Panther Valley: $53,885
- Mahanoy Area: $53,301
- Williams Valley: $51,350
- Saint Clair Area: $51,041
- Gillingham Charter: $43,543