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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cumulative Salary Indexes (CSIs): A New Way to Look at Teacher Salaries
by Roberson, Winfred Bowie, Jr., Ed.D., University of California, Davis, 2018, 127; 13421006
Abstract (Summary)

The Davis Teachers Association has asserted that the Davis Joint Unified School District’s (DJUSD’s) beginning salary steps are lower than the starting salary steps of districts that the district competes against for the same pool of qualified teachers, and that, as a result, the DJUSD is unable to recruit high-quality teachers. Complicating this matter, the 2007–2012 recession significantly decreased the number of college graduates entering the teaching profession in California; the resulting teacher shortage makes the recruitment and retention of teachers very competitive among school districts. Viewing this issue within the context of starting salary and career earnings magnifies the need for districts to be creative in the way they advertise their salary schedules.

To assist school districts with the creative presentation of their salary schedules, this study develops the cumulative salary index (CSI). Simply defined, CSIs calculate total salary earnings for a specific block of time. Within that context, the aim of this study is to understand how beginning and ending salary differences between DJUSD and 12 other Sacramento-region school districts influence long-term earnings for teachers. From that standpoint, I ask two research questions. First, how do specific steps on the Davis teacher salary schedule compare to similar salary steps of 12 other Sacramento-region school districts that compete for the same beginning and veteran teachers, before and after integrating health benefits? Second, do districts that offer higher first and final salary steps have greater CSIs than those that offer lower first and final salary steps? I also examine the influence(s) that school site and district environmental conditions may have on teacher recruitment and retention.

I use a straightforward methodology to answer the research questions. To address the first research question, I compare specific salary steps for each of the 13 study districts, before and after the integration of health benefits. To answer the second research question, I develop educational pathway scenarios and five-year block scenarios to measure and compare the 13 districts’ various CSIs. The findings show that DJUSD’s overall salary ranks pretty low across a variety of cells and CSIs in comparison to the other study districts. The findings also reveal that the integration of health benefits into the teacher salary schedule either positively or negatively influences how a district’s salary ranks. Additionally, CSI comparisons between the 13 study districts reveal that just because a district has the lowest starting salary does not mean that its teachers will have the lowest career earnings. Finally, findings from this study provide additional evidence to the body of literature demonstrating that teachers are willing to compromise wages in exchange for favorable environmental conditions at school.

Based upon the observations made from this study, I recommend that school districts implement policies and practices that improve environmental conditions for teachers. As a way to provide a more comprehensive view of teacher salary, I also recommend that school districts create, promote, and utilize various CSIs when recruiting teachers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rose, Heather
Commitee: Gee, Kevin, Rodriguez, Gloria
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education finance, Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: LCFF, Salary, School conditions, Teacher motivation, Teacher salaries, Teacher wages
Publication Number: 13421006
ISBN: 978-0-438-93204-3
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