K-12 teachers’ pay largely stagnant in 2012 while others’ rises

By Bill Felber

City and county workers and police officers did a lot better in 2012 than school teachers. . . unless the teachers taught at the technical college.

That’s the clearest finding from The Mercury’s annual analysis of public sector income during the most recent calendar year.

As a general proposition, those employed at the same job by an area city, county or by the RCPD saw their gross income climb by four to six percent during 2012 as compared with 2011.

By contrast, those employed at the same job by any of several area school districts coped with pay changes topping out at 1.4 percent, and dipping as low as a 2.91 percent average cut in one area district.Those findings are based on an analysis of gross income provided by 13 area governmental entities, and encompassing approximately 5,000 workers. Here’s an entity-by-entity overview of the findings.


The analysis found that on average, faculty at Manhattan Area Technical College who were doing the same job saw their gross compensation increase by 6.5 percent during 2012 compared with 2011. The study included 36 MATC employees, of whom 35 received compensation increases.

All but five got increases higher than the 2 percent cost of living increase for the year, and in the cases of 15 of those 36 employees the compensation increases exceeded six percent. The average compensation for an MATC employee included in the study rose from $51,355 in 2011 to $54,693 in 2012.


Employees at the Riley County Police Department fared nearly as well, receiving compensation increases averaging 6.69 percent.

The RCPD study encompassed 144 employees, of whom 137 saw their compensation increase, 128 by amounts in excess of the change in the cost of living. The average compensation for an RCPD employee included in the study rose from $53,712 in 2011 to $57,304 in 2012.

The RCPD study showed little variation among job descriptions. Average compensation for corrections officers increased by 6.5 percent while the figure for patrol officers was 6.7 percent.


Riley County

Employees of Riley County enjoyed 4.97 percent average compensation increases during the year, from $48,952 to $51,384 for 128 employees included in the study. Every county employee included in the study made more money in 2012 than in 2011, and the increases of all but three exceeded the change in the cost of living. Two of the three at the low end, by the way, were county commissioners Karen McCulloh and Alvan Johnson, their compensation only increasing by 1.5 percent. In the cases of 31 county employees, the increases exceeded six percent.



City employees saw their compensation increase by 4.12 percent during 2012, from an average of $45,324 to $47,192. There were 257 city employees qualified for inclusion in the study, of whom all but seven increased their compensation. All but 18 increased compensation more than the two percent change in the cost of living, with the compensation of 46 increasing by more than six percent.



With only five employees qualifying for the study, the data for Ogden has to be considered anomalous. But for the record, two employees saw their compensation increase while three saw declines.

The biggest driver of the data was a 12.9 percent compensation increase for city treasurer Sharon Pence, from $25,111 to $28,347. The three who were cut were all maintenance workers, and all the cuts were in the range of one to two percent.


Kansas State University

With 3,358 employees included in the study, KSU easily represents the largest block in the study. It is also easily the most diverse, with large numbers of both classified (civil service) and professorial employees. As a consequence, the range of financial impacts also varies widely.

The field-wide average amounts to a 2.6 percent increase in compensation, from $60,596 to $62,148. But those numbers are only coincidentally meaningful; to get any sort of feel for what’s happening to salaries at K-State, you have to look at categories of jobs. The Mercury analyzed the data for eight commonly held positions at KSU - four academic, four classified - and here’s the movement we found, listed from the largest percentage increase to the largest percentage decrease. Also indicated is the number of employees at each job category who were included in the study:


• Computer information specialist (59): 4.20 percent

• Instructor (167) : 3.73 percent

• Assistant professor (163): 3.61 percent

• Professor (336): 2.61 percent

• Associate professor (297): 2.59 percent

• Maintenance and repair technician (25): 0.16 percent

• Ag technician (75): .0.06 percent

• Custodial specialist (116): -0.07 percent


So as a general proposition, faculty members appeared to do better than classified employees, although it need to be noted that the data for this sub-study encompassed only about one-third of all the university employees included in our broader study.

In that broader study, 2,452 employees saw increases of some amount in their income, and in the cases of 2,003 of those employees the increases exceeded two percent. However, 814 saw their income decline, while 91 saw no change at all in their income.


Pottawatomie County

A total of 101 Pottawatomie County employees saw their income increase by a fraction over two percent during 2012, from an average of $38,689 to $39,474. That included 89 with increases of some level, 46 of those increases exceeding two percent and eight exceeding six percent.

One of the exceptions was county administrator Robert Reece, whose income declined, if only by $12, from $119,612 to $119,600. He was among a dozen county employees who saw their income drop by some amount during the year.


USD 383

Area school districts formed a cluster at the bottom of the list, the best-off being the Manhattan-Ogden district. There, 490 employees included in the study received on average 1.36 percent increases in their income during 2012.

Numerically, that increase was from $43,789 to $44,384. Of those 490, 354 saw their income increase, 205 by amounts exceeding the inflation rate, and 54 by six percent or more.

On the other hand, 135 saw their incomes decline in real terms, with 21 declining between five and 10 percent.


USD 320

Teachers in the Wamego school district received compensation increases averaging about 1.4 percent during 2012.

There were 134 USD 320 employees included in the study, of which 99 saw their compensation increase and 35 saw a decrease. About half of the increases were in excess of the 2 percent rate of inflation.


USD 378

Compensation in Riley-Leonardville USD 378 was virtually unchanged in 2012, rising about one-tenth of one percent on average. 

The USD 378 study encompassed 53 employees, of whom 32 saw increases and 19 saw decreases. Compensation for the final two was unchanged. Fifteen employees saw increases in excess of the two percent rate of inflation.



Public library

There was virtually no movement in compensation for the library’s 22 employees who were included in the study.

Twenty of those employees were compensated at the statistically same levels in both 2011 and 2012.

One received an increase, but it amounted to about $250, or less than one percent. One employee saw a decrease, but that was about $30, or one-tenth of one percent. Average compensation rose by $10, from $40,053 in 2011 to $40,063.


USD 384

Data on 21 employees of the Randolph school district was included, the result being an average 1.4 percent decline, from $41,623 in 2011 to $41,037 in 2012.

Only two employees received compensation increases in excess of the rate of inflation, and only five received increases of any amount.


USD 323

Employees in the Rock Creek school district dealt with compensation decreases averaging 2.9 percent in 2012, from $43,318 the previous year to $42,058.

A total of 69 employees were included in the study. USD 323 Supt. Darrel Stufflebeam attributed the broad decline to one-time payments made to faculty in 2011.

As a result, only seven employees saw compensation increases in 2012, and in only two cases did those increases exceed the change in the cost of living.

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