State Special Education Teachers are Underpaid in Missouri.

According to data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, teachers working in state funded special education schools are paid less than their public school counterparts. This disparity can be quite large in many cases. For example, a teacher with a master’s degree and 15 years of teaching experience will earn about $35,000 a year at Delmar Cobble School for the Severely Disabled in Columbia, Missouri. A public school teacher with those same credentials will earn about $53,000 across the street at Parkade Elementary school. This payment gap exists because Missouri is very unique in the way it operates these schools for children with severe disabilities. They are state funded schools, and there are 34 of them through out the state, which means they only receive state funding. They can not get money from property taxes or the federal government like public schools can. This also means that these Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled are subject to budget cuts as well. This was the recurring theme we found when talking with teachers, administrators and officials with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, they want to pay their state employees teachers more, but they do not receive enough funding in the federal budget to do so. Like all of the stories I worked on this past semester, five elements were included:

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