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Kansas, Missouri rank low for teacher pay

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KANSAS AND MISSOURI (KCTV) -

According to National Education Association statistics just released, Kansas and Missouri teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation.

Many teachers say they didn't get into teaching for the money, but a long-time teacher and principal in the Kansas City, KS, school district hopes Kansas and Missouri step up and adjust to a higher cost of living.

"Teachers work really hard. That's one of the hardest professions because you come home and you don't just come home and sit, you're grading papers, you're doing lesson plans, you're planning for lessons," Freda Ogburn said.

Ogburn retired in May 2013 after serving 29 years with Kansas City, KS, Public Schools. She said many of her teachers worked two jobs to pay the bills.

"There were several years when I was teaching and when I was administration that teachers did not get raises or if they did it was minimal," she said.

Kansas and Missouri rank in the bottom ten when it comes to the nation's teaching salaries. Kansas ranks 42nd and Missouri ranks 41st. The average salary for teachers in both states is about $47,500 per year.

"I realize the cost of living is higher in California or New York, or the other places where teachers' salaries are higher, but I still think that Kansas and Missouri could do a much better job at paying their teachers."

For several years Ogburn sat in on the salary negotiations for her teachers.

"It's easy for teachers that graduate from Emporia, KU and K-State to say ‘Why would I go to Kansas or Missouri when I easily can go to Nebraska or somewhere else where the level of salary is higher?'" she said. "When they negotiate many times it is for resources, and it is for smaller class sizes, and it's for the kids because they get into that because they're in a mindset of service."

Ogburn hopes states will step up to keep teachers in the profession they love in Kansas and Missouri classrooms.

"I would hope part that this increase in funding would be the opportunity for teachers' salaries to increase," she said.

Click here for the full NEA report.

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