EDB study shows salary hike for teachers will ‘favor economy’
The salary increases for the teachers and educational staff of the Puerto Rico Department of Education will have a multiplier effect, generating more than 13,000 jobs and more than $500 million in annual revenue, according to a study by the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank’s Center for Economic Studies.
An analysis showed that the pay gap among public school teachers would narrow an average of 20 percentage points with their counterparts in the United States.
“These findings present a broad picture of the impact of the increase in Puerto Rico’s economy. Similarly, we found that, with the increase announced last week by the governor, the average salary would exceed $40,100 per year,” said EDB President Luis Alemañy.
“This amount would equate to 63% of what the average public school educator earns in the United States [mainland] or 89% of what the average Mississippi educator earns, and 82% of the Florida average,” he said.
Currently, public education teachers in Puerto Rico receive an average salary of $28,100, the lowest of any US jurisdiction. The basic salary of a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $1,750 per month.
Local teachers’ salaries also fluctuate widely, depending on their academic preparation. On the other hand, the Education Department faces recruitment challenges to hire educators in different subjects.
Despite these variables, the study found that the targeted increases for 26,159 educators starting in July would have a highly favorable impact. The increases come from a recurring allocation of $187 million, which would benefit the Education Department’s remaining staff.
To this amount, $470 per month, would be added $530 per month of federal funds from the federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).
“We believe, in more specific terms, that about 13,908 direct, indirect and induced jobs could be generated, and about $506 million for the economy,” Alemañy said.
The analysis also considered the cost-of-living index in Puerto Rico.
“Despite these variables, we believe that the increase will have a favorable impact,” said Alemañy.