Utah teachers may see an increase in their salaries as Utah legislators deliberate on the best use for funds trimmed from state budget spending. The cuts amount to $69 million and many lawmakers favor allocating around half of those funds to teacher pay, a potential $2000 raise. On average, Utah teacher salaries ranged from $33,852 to $48,291 according to 2013-2014 data from the Utah Education Association.
Additionally, lawmakers are considering an increase in what is called the Weighted Pupil Unit—the primary funding formula for Utah’s education system. This could bring further increases, amounting to hundreds or thousands in teacher pay depending on how local school districts decide to allocate the funds.
The subject of education is at the forefront of issues this legislative session. Utah has been ranked among the lowest in the nation in the pupil to teacher ratio. Half of new teachers quit within their first five years.
Utah is last in the nation for per-pupil funding. There is also a shortage in STEM and Special Education teachers. Some believe those issues could, in part, be attributed to teacher pay. Without competitive pay, much of the talent is drawn to other more lucrative fields.
There is also a movement to bring a ballot initiative before voters in November to consider increasing sales and income taxes to pay for a $700 million a year increase in education funding. It would provide each Utah school nearly $1000 more per enrolled student.