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Average Washington County teachers' salaries up

June 04, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

Teachers in Washington County make an average of $38,237 a year, moving the school system from 20th to 16th place in state rankings.

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Washington County Board of Education officials said they hope the change will help the school system attract teachers.

The average salary for teachers in the county increased from $37,341 last year, said Kathy Hiatt, staff specialist for the Maryland Department of Education.

"That's very good news," said school board Vice President B. Marie Byers.

The average teacher salary in Frederick County, Md., rose from $38,332 to $39,085, making it the 12th highest in the state. Last year, Frederick's average salary was ranked 14th, Hiatt said.

Statewide, the average pay for teachers is $41,404.

The average salary for guidance counselors in Washington County is $36,298. The county is the only one in Maryland in which counselors average pay is lower than that of teachers.

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Hiatt said the increases are due to regular annual step raises given to teachers.

For every year of service, Washington County teachers receive an annual step increase, which amounts to a little more than a 1 percent raise.

Last year, Washington County teachers with at least 20 years of experience received a 2 percent pay hike in addition to their regular step increases.

Officials said they decided to give senior teachers an additional raise because the group had not received such a hike in about five years.

Although the average salary for teachers in the county increased, the starting salary remained the same. The $25,075 paid to beginning teachers in Washington County is ranked 21st out of the state's 24 districts, and officials believe it discourages people from applying for teaching jobs in the county.

Last year, the number of people submitting applications to the school system dropped by about 400.

School officials are in the midst of contract negotiations with the Washington County Teachers Association, and Byers said she hopes it will include more money for beginning teachers.

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