KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Teachers in Missouri aren’t in it for the pay. In fact, a recent survey revealed the pay is the number one reason teachers leave the profession.

The Missouri Board of Education commissioned the survey as they search for ways to retain quality teachers.

More than 6,000 Missouri teachers, administrators, and school human resources managers were surveyed. The survey found the number one reason teachers left the profession, or considered leaving, was due to pay. The number one reasons schools have trouble recruiting teachers is also pay.

President of the Kansas City American Federation of Teachers Local 691 Andrea Flinders wasn’t surprised by the results.

“It’s a problem all through Missouri. Teachers salaries are low. They’re not as low in the urban areas as they are in some of the rule areas, but it’s a problem attracting teachers and it’s a problem keeping teachers,” Flinders said.

The average pay for Missouri in the 2016/2017 school year was $48,293. Kansas was $47,984. Both significantly lower than the national average of $58,950.

The minimum starting salary for a teacher in Missouri is only $25,000. But Flinders said it’s rare for teachers to make the minimum and it only happens in rural Missouri. Because pay is so low in those areas, schools often can’t fill all their open positions especially for elective subjects like Spanish.

“If you can’t find a teacher to teach a specific subject or a specific grade level, then those children end up either with substitutes or they get their class split between teachers and they don’t get the education that they really deserve,” she said.

The average starting pay in the Kansas City metro is about $40,000, Flinders said. Many teachers, even in the metro, have to get a second job to get by, especially young teachers struggling to pay back student loans.

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