How Much Should Christian School Teachers be Paid?

by Robert F. Davis

It was about three weeks ago that I stumble across an article titled Public School Teachers in Long Island are increasingly pulling in six-figure taxpayer-funded salaries a year with generous benefits packages. The average salary in one school district was $161,000 per year. The operational word here is “average.”

The author of the article Katherine Rodriquez went on to elaborate that these teachers additionally made an average of $24,152 in benefits. But, “the compensation package does not end there.” The school district contributed a total averaging $16,041 per teacher to their pension fund. The most flagrant employee expenses were in the Central Islip school district which earned according to a “C” rating in the academic area.

It is interesting to note that this school district is just 20 minutes south of where I taught, at the Stony Brook School, a Christian school on the north shore of Long Island. A salary of $161,000 per year is more than four times larger than the average Christian school salary within 75 miles of Central Islip, New York.

Both my wife and I have worked at Christian schools and colleges at all levels of employment, so we can relate first hand to the subject of compensation with real-life experience. We can also relate to the physical, psychological, and emotional conditions which accompany a Christian school compensation package.

Futhermore there is a “subculture” within the Christian school community of trapped individuals, a community who has to accept what they are offered. “Trapped” with nowhere to go because of the special nature of Christian school educators. Saddest of all is the blow to morale which appears to affect individual decision making.

Over the years my wife and I have served Christian education we have seen dozens, yes dozens, of faculty make poor moral decisions, unfaithfulness to spouses; financial decisions, embezzlement; and a general “lack of integrity!” These people are beaten down. It’s no excuse, but it is a reason for their actions.

Now I’m not lost on the idea that Christian school employment is our service to the Lord and that there will be sacrifices to be made by accepting such employment. But for a professional to earn somewhere around $10 an hour is ludicrous. And what about 1 Timothy 5:18? “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” (a reference to Deuteronomy 25:4) and, “The laborer deserves his wages” (ESV). Study this passage. A worker deserves his pay! I would also refer you to passages in Matthew 10 and Luke 10:7 for a better understanding of compensation for service to the Kingdom.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post

Robert F. Davis has 40 years of experience providing counsel for educational and not-for-profit institutions. He previously served as vice president for Advancement at Bryan College in Tennessee and consulting vice president for Advancement and Alumni Affairs at Liberty University in Virginia.