Teachers haven’t been in the news as much this year as they have been in recent years. I guess, fortunately, when Scott Walker runs for president he doesn’t have time to drum up as much controversy.
Because the fact of the matter is, teachers really aren’t paid enough.
And Tennessee is no exception. So we decided to take a dive into the data to figure out which places in Tennessee can afford to pay teachers more. These are the places where the price of homes way out strips what teachers make.
Using data provided by the Tennessee Education Association and the 2013 American Community Survey, we were able to identify the ten places in the Volunteer State that should volunteer to pay their teachers more:
Read on to see how we identified the places that almost require teachers to commute in from another place.
The fact that Tennessee provides salary for all their school districts made this process a bit easier than I expected.
In total, there are 137 school districts in the database with salary information. We then matched a school district to a county or a city with over 5,000 people to its median home price from the 2013 American Community Survey.
This process left us with 120 schools districts.
We then divided the median home price by the average teacher salary to arrive a Home-to-Salary Ratio for each place. The place with the highest ratio, Williamson County, was crowned the “Most Expensive Place For A Teacher To Live”.
As a quick aside, we found it interesting that in Tennessee the range of teachers salaries goes from about $37,000 at the bottom in Cannon County to $57,843 in Shelby County. This range seemed pretty tight for the discrepancy in home prices at the top $334,900 in Williamson County to $68,000 in Dyersburg.
Average Pay: $48,054
Median Home Price: $334,900
Williamson County takes the top spot in Tennessee when it comes to being way too expensive for teachers to ever consider living in town. And it “won” by a long shot — its pay to home price ratio is almost 50% higher than the second place finisher, Germantown.
The Williamson County School District operates 41 different schools within the county which includes the cities of Nolensville, Brentwood, Fairview, and Franklin, among others.
It’s one of the wealthiest counties in the country, nevermind just Tennessee, but it doesn’t pay its teachers to the same level as surrounding areas.
Average Pay: $57,528
Median Home Price: $268,000
Germantown places as the second most expensive place for teachers in Tennessee with an average pay to median home price ratio of 4.66.
The school district has 5 schools and it operates alongside the Shelby County School district.
Average Pay: $41,571
Median Home Price: $190,100
Wilson County ranks as the third most expensive place for teachers to live in the Volunteer State.
The school districts oversees 22 schools indcluding four high schools for cities such as Lebanon and Mt. Juliet.
Overall, teachers are paid the seventh worst in the state, but significantly lower home prices than the first two places on the list prevented Wilson County from ranking even higher on this list.
Average Pay: $57,739
Median Home Price: $255,700
Collierville, a neighbor of Germantown, finishes as the fourth hardest place for teachers to live based on average salaries.
The Collierville School District runs eight schools for the town’s over 7,000 students.
While the city does pay it teachers well (fourth highest in the state), it’s still not enough to afford to live in the city.
Average Pay: $43,954
Median Home Price: $175,100
There’s a pretty big drop in the level of expense for teachers (over 10%)from fourth place Collierville to fifth place Fayette County.
Oveall, teachers are paid in the bottom 50% of places in Tennessee, but a median home price that ranks ninth highest in the state makes it hard to live there on a teachers salary.
The Fayette County School District contains 13 schools and the towns of Gallaway, Moscow, and Somerville, among others.
Average Pay: $57,842
Median Home Price: $227,100
While Lakeland places as the sixth most expensive place to live for a teacher working there, it’s a bit of an odd case.
Why is that? Because the Lakeland School District operates only one school, Lakeland Elementary School. The Shelby Couny School District oversees the rest of the school age population.
It’s also intersting to note that Lakeland pays teachers the third most, on average, but it would still be hard to live in the median home there on one salary.
Average Pay: $48,218
Median Home Price: $176,600
Sumner County is big, it has over 40 schools in the district, but they still under pay teachers relative to other places in the Volunteer State with homes of a similar price.
The average teacher pay ranks in the top 30% of districts in Tennessee, but the eighth highest home prices mean it’s still probably too expensive to live in the same place where you teach.
Average Pay: $48,761
Median Home Price: $177,600
Loudon County has statistics very similar to Sumner County, but it just edges out Sumner to place as the eighth most expensive place for teachers to live.
The Loudon County School District manages all the schools in Loudon County, except for those in Lenoir City.
Teacher’s pay ranks in the top 30% for Tennessee, but the seventh highest home prices in the state result in it being relatively expensive for teachers.
Average Pay: $57,633
Median Home Price: $198,300
The ninth worst place for teachers to live based on average wages to home prices is Arlington.
Arlington has four schools in the district and pays teachers the sixth most of any place in Tennessee. However, home prices rank as being the fifth most expensive, which limits the affordability.
Average Pay: $46,002
Median Home Price: $152,900
Cheathm County rounds out the top ten most expensive places for teachers in Tennessee.
It is the only place in the top ten to have a median home price that finishes outside of the top ten in the state (Number 18), but it only plays teachers slightly above average.
The result is a town that still doesn’t pay teachers all that much relative to other places in Tennessee with similar home prices.