AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine has some of the lowest paid teachers in the country. The state ranks 48th for average teacher salaries. Education leaders said two of every five people that go into teaching leave after their first five-years of teaching. They said this is partly from the pay and partly because of all the responsibilities required of a teacher.
Maine Education Association officials said the average salary is between $47,000 to $48,000, which includes starting teachers and those who've taught for decades. Each teacher signs a locally negotiated contract between school committees and the teachers association that reflect the area they're working.
Teachers in East Millinocket with a bachelor's degree start at $30,500 and after 22 years of teaching they'll make close to $53,000. In Old Orchard Beach, the starting average is around 33,000 and after 20 years decades teachers will make about $57,000. Teachers in urban areas tend to make more; in Bangor, the starting salary close to $42,000 and after 20 years teachers will bring in about $76,000. President of Maine Education Association Lois Kilby-Chesley said the cost of living and what teachers are earning don't line up.
"Certainly, the cost of living in Maine is relatively high when you figure in particularly the heating oil for the winter times. And the salaries don't reflect because the more rural you get, the lower income communities they start their teachers at lower salaries then the more urban higher income communities."
Education officials said the wage scale will increase if a teacher has their master's or doctorate in education.