Re-6 teacher salaries below most, above some, communities

With the mill levy override question soon to be determined on the Nov. 6 ballot, the salaries of the Mancos teachers has come into question.

The average teacher salary in the state of Colorado is $48,020, according to www.teachersalaryinfo.com.

The average teacher salary in Mancos is $36,285. The teachers received a 2 percent increase across the board four years ago. The salaries have been frozen since then.

According to the salary schedule that the Mancos School District Re-6 has in place right now, the starting salary for a teacher who has a Bachelor of Arts degree is $29,636. With a Master of Arts degree, the starting salary goes up to $33,767. The Mancos district has horizontal and vertical step increases in place. The horizontal step increases are based on obtaining further graduate hours after their bachelor’s or master’s degree. The vertical step increases are according to how many years a teacher has taught within the district.

In Mancos, the horizontal step increase is $400 and the vertical step increase is $500.

Compared to Dolores, the salary is a bit less. Their starting salary for a teacher with a BA is $30,469, but is more than the starting salary for Dove Creek, which is $27,000, and Cortez, which is $28,960. The starting salary for a teacher with an MA in Dolores is $33,688, a little less than Mancos, and $31,320 in Dove Creek and $33,143 in Cortez.

However, the step increases are quite different. In Dolores, they are $300 for horizontal and $500 for vertical; in Dove Creek, the increases jump up to $810 for horizontal and $540 for vertical; and in Cortez, the increases are $790 for horizontal and $760 for vertical.

In Durango, the starting salary for a teacher with a BA is $36,600, the starting salary for a teacher with an MA is $41,200, and the step increases are $800 for both the horizontal and vertical.

“I don’t feel,” said Mancos school superintendent Brian Hanson, “that just because we’re a smaller district that a teacher should get a smaller salary.” He feels that they have all the same things to deal with and all the same stressors each day.

“A quality teacher is a quality teacher,” he said, “no matter where they teach.”

Each teacher pays for their own recertification, which is about $75 to $80, plus the cost of the classes they have to take.

The starting salary for a teacher in Mancos, whether they have a BA or an MA, is still less than what a teacher receives in Bayfield, Pagosa Springs or Ignacio as well. In Bayfield, it is $31,600, Pagosa Spring it is $33,000, and in Ignacio it is $30,000.

“It’s hard to compete with those salaries,” said Hanson.