The Lubbock schools has an average salary of $45,804 and a starting salary of $37,750, said Rick Rodriguez, Lubbock schools assistant superintendent in charge of human resources. Region 17, based in Lubbock with 20 counties and 57 school districts under its wing, is No. 17 — $44,026 a year — for teacher salaries among the 20 education service centers in the state, a recent survey of the Texas Association of School Boards shows. The highest teacher salaries in Texas tend to come from the larger urban areas of the state, said Mary Barrett, the school board association assistant director of compensation services. For example, Dallas, San Antonio and Fort Worth all pay more than $50,000, according to the survey. Competition for hiring teachers is tougher in highly populated areas, Barrett said. School districts in Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Plano, Mesquite and others all need teachers, and they have to compete with higher salaries. “In Lubbock schools, there is competition, but not as much competition. So it doesn’t drive the prices as high,” Barrett said. Region 17 and others with rural districts have an opposite situation, said Clinton Gill, organizational development specialist for the Texas State Teachers Association. “So many rural school districts pay only the state minimum salary,” Gill said. Lubbock schools doesn’t compare well with other districts of similar size, said Rodriguez. The people who are here want to be here and are willing to work for less money to live here, he said. “I also think it has a lot to do with the cost of living. It is significantly less expensive to live here than in the Dallas metroplex or in Houston,” Rodriguez said. Barrett agreed the cost of living is a factor, but it is hard to pinpoint. By Joe Gulick
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