Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana teachers come in dead last in the nation when it comes to starting salaries, so Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen declared on Monday that starting teacher licensing fees will also remain at historic lows, even as salaries for administrators are much higher.

KGVO News spoke to Arntzen about the dismal record of starting teacher pay in Montana.

Starting Teacher's Salaries in Montana Come in Dead Last in the USA

“Montana ranks 51st in the nation with an average starting teacher salary at $33,000,” began Arntzen. “I do say as a teacher that this is embarrassing, but we also know that a full-time administrator, at this point makes between $94,000 to $117,000 as an average (annual salary).”

Because of the low salaries of Montana’s teachers, Arntzen said their teacher licensing fees would remain low, as well.

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Consequently Teacher Licensing Fees will also Remain Historically Low

“$30, and this is for a five-year license, so, yes, that would be just $6 a year for a teacher to be that professional in the classroom, and it's been that way for many, many years,” she said. “So we have an application fee that remains the same. We have the teacher licensing of five years for $30 remaining the same. We are asking then that an administrator’s license be $45 a year, which is an increase of $31 a year over what it was originally.”

Again, Arntzen said Public Schools will be Fully Funded No Matter What Happens

KGVO News tapped the nail with Arntzen again over funding for Montana’s public schools, which has led to the state of Montana suing over 50 counties for not paying the full amount of mills intended for public education.

“Again, it doesn't matter what type of money is in the state general fund, and that type of money, whether they are income taxes or whether they are property taxes, or any other taxes that can come from Montanans,” she said. “As a result, schools are funded by a formula. That formula doesn't care where the money comes from. It just says that on a certain date, with 11 payments annually that schools will be getting what is due to them via the formula.”

The average of all teachers’ salaries in Montana is actually $53,628, which still ranks 44th lowest in the country.

There are approximately 11,000 teachers in Montana’s 826 public schools.

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