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A charter school is an independently operated public school granted greater flexibility in meeting its educational mission. The flexibility enjoyed by charter schools extends as well to the teachers they employ. Charter school teachers typically experience more leeway when it comes to teaching styles, for instance, and are somewhat freer to experiment in class. What charter school teachers typically receive in return for greater classroom freedom, however, are somewhat lower average salaries.
At publication, the SimplyHired jobs website says the average salary for a charter school teacher is $36,000. Charter school salaries also vary by location, with Los Angeles teachers earning $40,000 while teachers in Chicago earn $39,000. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy says Michigan charter school teachers earned an average salary of $42,864 in 2013, below the $63,024 salary conventional school teachers enjoyed. In 2014, Texas charter school teacher salaries also vary widely, at a range of $14,497 to $53,907 annually.
Charter school teacher salaries may rise over time, especially in districts that pay for good performance. "The New York Times," in a 2013 article on charter schools, notes that Washington charter school teachers enjoyed starting salaries of $42,000 per year. By their third year, high-performing Washington charter school teachers can expect to earn up to $80,000 annually. On average, though, charter school teacher salaries are 10 to 15 percent lower than conventional school teacher salaries, according to the Concordia University website.
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- Uncommon Schools: Frequently Asked Questions About Public, Charter Schools
- SimplyHired: Average Charter School Teacher Salaries
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy: Average Teacher Salaries Climb
- San Antonio Express-News: It's Harder for Charter Schools to Keep Teachers
- The New York Times: At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice
- Concordia University: Pros and Cons of Teaching at a Charter School
Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.