How Does Year-Round School Affect Teacher Salary?
Around 3,000 schools in the United States currently operate on a year-round schedule. Instead of attending school in four nine-week periods, then taking a two- or three-month summer break, year-round students attend school in six-week blocks and take three or four weeks off in between each block. Since most year-round schools contain the same overall days of instruction as traditional schools, teachers in both types of schools are often paid according to the same scale. However, the ways teachers earn their salaries may be very different.
Northern Brunswick County Schools
In northern Brunswick County, North Carolina, two elementary schools and one middle school operate as year-round schools. At these schools, teachers earn the same salary as those who teach in the district’s schools with traditional schedules.
However, the area of Brunswick County depends on local tourism during the summer to keep things running. For teachers who would traditionally take on seasonal jobs during the summer, teaching in one of Brunswick County’s year-round schools could lead to a loss of income. It could also cause the local economy to take a hit, with students in school instead of out spending money with their families.
Socorro Independent School District
Like most year-round schools, those in Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, offer intercession classes during the first two weeks of each four-week break. During these sessions, students have the option to attend tutoring sessions and participate in enrichment activities overseen by teacher volunteers. Since volunteering to teach intersession classes is not part of the teachers’ standard salary, they are compensated for their time.
As a result, teachers in year-round schools may have the potential to earn more money than those who teach in traditional schools in the district. Since the intercession sessions are only scheduled for two weeks out of the four-week break, teachers still get to take a short break.
Oxnard Unified School District
Since 1976, the Oxnard Unified School District in California has been operating year-round schools. What started as a test of a new way to approach school is now a way for the district to save money and educate more students without building new schools. Many of Oxnard’s year-round schools operate on a multi-track schedule where part of the student body is in class while another part of the student body is on vacation.
Teachers have the potential to earn more money by opting to teach more than one track of students or filling in during their vacations. The money school districts save by not having to build new schools may also be passed on teachers.
Year-Round Teacher Satisfaction
While some year-round schools offer teachers the potential to earn more, there is not a significant difference between teacher salaries in traditional schools versus year-round schools. However, the physical and emotional cost of teaching may be slightly less for those in year-round schools.
Teachers in year-round schools in all three of the districts above cite higher levels of morale and most were in favor of continuing a year-round school schedule. They also have smaller class sizes and more frequent breaks, leading to less stress and more opportunities to work directly with students. These benefits may make the teaching salary for teachers in a year-round school seem more desirable than teachers in a traditional school.