A new survey of Texas teachers paints a bleak picture of their finances including taking on extra jobs and spending hundreds of their own dollars to pay for classroom supplies.
The Texas State Teachers Association is hoping legislators will take a hard look at the new data before this next session.
When the final school bell rings a teacher's work day doesn't stop. According to a new study released by the Texas State Teachers Association 31 percent will head to a second job. It's a lifestyle TSTA President Noel Candelaria knows well.
"When I first started teaching I was also a financial advisor,” said Candelaria.
It's not any new or surprising statistic for Candelaria who worked as a special education teacher for 13 years.
However, he's hoping that statistic from a survey of 800 Texas teachers will be a wakeup call to legislators to support more public education funding.
"We need the legislators to know and understand what the teachers do every day in providing for our students,” said Candelaria.
In addition to the 31 percent of teachers who said they took on second jobs to make ends meet, 49 percent said they had summer jobs.
"The downfall is the impact in the classroom. I know teachers who work late shifts at night and sometimes they don't get too prepared for the lessons the way they wanted to,” said Candelaria.
Even without a second job, teachers painted a picture of being overworked saying they spent an average of 17 hours per work week on school-related work outside the classroom.
When it comes to finances, respondents said they are spending an average of $656 dollars out of their own pockets for classroom supplies per year.
"There were students that I would buy coats for because they would come to school and they had no coat so, or I'd see their shoes and kids get bullied. So in order to prevent that bullying we'll buy a student a pair of shoes,” said Candelaria.
Yet pay is slow to increase. The average salary is $51,758 in Texas. That’s $6,000 below the national average. Candelaria says it makes for a difficult lifestyle here in Austin.
According to affordable housing consultants at Community Wheelhouse, a teacher making the median $49,697 salary at AISD, could afford a home for $180,000. Out of the 1,200 housing units currently for sale a teacher would be eligible to purchase 66 of them.
Candelaria says even with all of the financial stressors the teacher dedication level remains the same. He hopes lawmakers will follow suit.
"We're asking for the legislature to do the same. Share their true dedication by investing in our public schools and the people that work with our students every day. We can't say we're advocating for children if we don't also advocate for those adults who work with those children every single day,” said Candelaria.
Full survey results:
Moonlighting survey summary, TSTA 2016
Male 21 percent
Female 79 percent
Major family income 54 percent
Minor income 21 percent
Equal income 20 percent
Urban district 52 percent
Suburban 38 percent
Rural 10 percent
K-5 teacher 42 percent
6-8 26 percent
9-12 32 percent
Average salary $53,147
Seriously considering leaving the profession 53 percent
Out of pocket spent on school supplies per year $656
Out of pocket spent on health insurance per month $326
Hours per week spent outside classroom on school work 17
Should a single exam determine a child’s promotion?
Yes or unsure 5 percent
No 95 percent
Have jobs in the summer 49 percent
Have moonlight jobs during the school year 31 percent
Hours spent per week on moonlight jobs during school year 13.1
Moonlighting harmful to teaching quality 72 percent
Would like to quit moonlighting 86 percent
Amount of raise needed to quit moonlighting $8,974
General public has a positive opinion about teachers Strongly disagree 14 percent
Disagree 39 percent
Neutral 17 percent
Agree 26 percent
Strongly agree 4 percent
State leaders have a positive opinion about teachers Strongly disagree 38 percent
Disagree 42 percent
Neutral 12 percent
Agree 6 percent
Strongly agree 2 percent