How much should schools pay for teachers?

A new budgeting system could shift the mix of inexperienced and veteran teachers at some schools. Some think that making schools pick up the full tab for teachers salaries would level the financial playing field and may even raise teacher credentials or experience at hard-to-staff schools. Others argue that this strategy is too politically volatile, as it can create seismic monetary shifts, and may create incentives for principals to base teacher hiring decisions on salary rather than quality.

How we analyzed the data

Catalyst Chicago calculated the average teacher salary at each school with data obtained from the Office of Management and Budget that lists, for each job code, the number of full-time positions at each school this fiscal year and the total budget for teacher salaries.

For this analysis, only job codes that represented teachers who spent the majority of their time in classrooms were included. Assistant principals, for instance, who may or may not teach classes, were excluded.

Excluded from this analysis were alternative schools that serve kids who are disruptive or dropouts and charter schools, which did not have readily available budget data.

Source for all graphics: Catalyst analysis of Chicago Public Schools data

3 new school principals buy ‘almost everything we want’

This fall, Tarkington, Pershing West and Uplift Community School are the first non-charter public schools in Chicago to try out the new student-based budgeting system, which aims to distribute money more equitably and give principals more financial freedom. These schools’ experiences will likely influence the rollout of per-pupil budgeting, a move that CPS officials plan to take districtwide over the next five years.