Average Colorado teacher salaries are down 20 percent since 1992, compared to a 3 percent drop nationally, according to federal and state statistics compiled by the Colorado School Finance Project.
The figures, adjusted for inflation, show that teachers in 2014 made $12,500 less on average, then they did in 1992.
Kerrie Dalman, president of the Colorado Education Association, the largest teacher’s union, said teachers used to live in the neighborhoods where they taught.
“Teachers these days in some of our larger urban areas are being priced out of the housing market,” she said. “They can’t live in their own school districts.”
She noted that rural districts especially are having a hard time attracting teachers because of low salaries.
As of 2014, Colorado teachers made roughly $9,000 below the national average. The average starting teacher's salary in Colorado is $32,000.
A recent report from the non-profit Learning Policy Institute ranked the teaching profession across the country. Colorado was the third lowest, tied with Texas. The report considered compensation, teacher turnover, working conditions, and teacher qualifications. There are 51,000 teachers in Colorado.