Report: MVLA teachers are best paid in state


According to data released by the state Department of Education this month and compiled by the Sacramento Bee, teachers in the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District are the highest paid in the state.

"We have the best teachers in the state and they deserve to be paid well," said Superintendent Barry Groves.

The Bee's report, which examined districts with more than 100 teachers, said MVLA pays an average of $95,365 a year, with the lowest earning $61,184 and the highest $115,616.

"We value our beginning teachers," Groves said in regards to the starting salary, adding that they are an "investment."

He said one reason for the high pay scale is that the district attracts and retains experienced teachers.

According to 2008-09 data from Ed Data, a collaborative Web site that analyzes data provided by the state, MVLA teachers averaged 11.2 years of teaching experience and 9.3 years with the district. Twenty-three of the district's 193 teachers, or about 12 percent, were first or second year teachers.

But when compared to county and state figures, it appears that in terms of teacher experience and longevity with a district, MVLA is only comparable, rather than noticeably higher.

Joe White, associate superintendent of business, said another factor is the cost of living in the area.

"When you put a blanket across the state or various parts of Northern California it makes it look like, 'Wow there's a huge difference,'" White said. "But there's a huge cost of living here." He added that many employees, including himself, commute from other areas to work in the district.

For Superintendent Groves, the chief issue was teacher quality.

"I believe that MVLA has a cadre of professional, highly qualified teachers in every academic discipline," Groves wrote in an e-mail. "As we have high standards for achieving tenure in our district, we believe that our teaching staff is second to none. Our students and their families profit by this incredible group of professionals."

According to the state data, teachers in the Mountain View Whisman School District make an average of $61,147 annually. The lowest pay offered in that district is $44,609, while the highest is $82,315.

In the Los Altos School District, teachers earn between $44,832 and $86,924, with an average salary of $73,569.

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5 people like this
Posted by Ted
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

The side-by-side comparisons are misleading. You compare the HS district against the elementary districts, suggesting there is some correlation.

MVWSD are among the lowest paid teachers while their administrators are among the higher paid! Compare their salaries to other local elementary salaries.

5 people like this
Posted by Jess
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

and on top of Ted's comment.... Los Altos School Disitrict (K-8) is amoung the LOWEST paid in Santa Clara County!

They have one been in the top 10 elementary school districts in the entire state yet they are one of the lowest paying in the county! Doesn't make sense. Poor teachers (literally)

3 people like this
Posted by Scot Lee
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2010 at 10:32 am

I live in Mt. View but teach High School in San Jose. Based on averages (I'm an eleven year teacher) MVLA High School District teachers are making in excess of 25K more a year than teachers in Eastside Union High School District. I hope we all keep that in mind before pushing another parcel tax for schools down home owners throats/.

3 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

@Ted - I'm confused. Which is the high school district and which is the elementary school district? (and why are they different?)

3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

As a teacher in the Mountain View High School district I must say that the level of professionlism in the district is very high. MVHS is ranked among the top 3% of schools in the entire country and we have a very hard working, dedicated staff. Many teachers are at work before 7am and do not leave until well after 4pm. We come in on the weekends, work on lessons at night, and collaborate during the summer. Compared to many other professionals in other industries we make less money and have to deal with more scrutiny. I am thankful that my salary allows me to live and help to support my family in this community and I only wish that hard working teachers in other districts could be paid what they deserve for committing their lives to such a challenging profession.

3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

In response to Jess - "Los Altos School Disitrict (K-8) is amoung the LOWEST paid in Santa Clara County!"

According to the story, LASD's average is $73,569. The low is $44,832 and the high is $86,924. Whereas, MVWSD's average is $61,147. The low is $77,609, and the high is $82,315. The number clearly shows LASD's pay is higher than the MVWSD by over $4,000 on the high end. Let's stick to the facts.

One of the reason the pay is lower in wealthy districts such as LASD, and Cupertino is because the school demographic is made up of more educated families; thereby, allowing teachers to focus on teaching and not on non-educational related issues. Bottom line is that their work load is less than other districts.

LASD has several parcel taxes which the money goes to providing student related programs.

3 people like this
Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Teachers by and large are so dedicated and hard-working --- I am thankful that there is a district that can pay them close to what they are worth!

3 people like this
Posted by KD
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Salary is only a portion of a teacher's compensation.

A 65 year old male teacher in California, earning $100,000 a year retires after 30 years service with a (taxpayer guaranteed) pension of $75,000 a year.

Web Link

What is that worth?

Well, at current rates, it costs $1,000,000 to purchase a $75,000 life annuity with survivor benefits (assume he has a 60 year old wife).

Web Link

It would take $1,400,000 (before tax) to build up a $1,000,000 401k nest egg. Over 30 years that's $46,000 a year (ignoring the impact of present valuing, etc)

Think about it.

3 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm


Wow you guys work from before 7 to after 4!. Isn't that just a standard 8 hour day? And you collaborate in the summer (when you're not working!). ...hardly matches the work load of professionals in other fields.

3 people like this
Posted by CHW
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Besides good pension, teachers do not work 12 months a year. They get the summer off.

3 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Dear Anonymous - your account of working from 7am to past 4pm, and even during the summer - undermines the veracity of any claim you have tried to put forth about going an extra mile.

The truth is that most folks work 8-hour days, through the summer, and make less than MVLAHS teachers.

I agree with Scot Lee: I am not at all inclined to support another parcel tax.

3 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 4, 2010 at 10:50 pm

the salaries are all over the map and if anything, it looks like the MORE educated the parents, the higher the salary... look at the 'bachelors + 60' salary for what appears to be the closest to apples-to-apples comparison. I highly doubt teachers in the Palo Alto ($82k), Menlo City ($82k), Hillsborough ($86k) and Las Lomitas ($101k) districts have a more difficult caseload than San Jose ($71k), San Francisco ($64k), Ravenswood City ($62k), South San Francisco ($62k) and Oakland ($54k) districts. It is unbelievable that Oakland pays half the salary of Las Lomitas for what appears to be the same level of education. I would offer that compared to similar communities up and down the peninsula, the Los Altos Elementary district underpays by quite a bit.

3 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I do not doubt for a moment that teachers work long hours (my sister-in-law is a teacher and brings her work home almost every night and often on weekends). I'll withhold judgement on future parcel taxes until I read the language of the proposal.

3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

In response to the number of hours I wrote before 7-4, I would like to clarify a few things: I said before 7am and well after 4pm. Many days I leave work at 5pm or later, I have only one or two free lunch times a week where I can get some work done, but most of the time I am helping students. This makes for a 9+ hour day almost every single day with no breaks. In addition, I also stated that "we come in on the weekends, work on lessons at night, and collaborate during the summer." I can't remember a single weekend during the school year or the summer that I didn't do lesson planning, grading, collaboration, or some other form of professional growth. Most weekends, I work on Saturday AND Sunday. Most evenings, after dinner, I am lesson planning and grading. Also, many of my colleagues have a second job in the summer or teach summer school to make ends meet... and most of them still can't afford a house in Mountain View.

Please be respectful of how hard teachers work and don't think that we just collect a paycheck and lay about in the summertime.

3 people like this
Posted by Castro Mom
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I love the teachers at my daughter's school! They work hard, the principal is available to talk with, even if only for a moment, as she is usually so busy. We have a faculty and staff who seem to do their best to put the students first. These people earn every penny they get!! As for the summers off, I don't think so!! I know many who work other jobs, and teach summer school--although even that perk for our students has pretty much gone by the wayside. Anyone who thinks a teacher in the MVWSD sits idly by in the summer, is out of touch!!

3 people like this
Posted by I'm a mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

Teachers work amazingly hard. Don't let anyone fool you! They take their work home nightly and worry about their students daily. On the weekends, they are in their classrooms on the weekend. Sitting around in the summer? Most of the teachers need to take classes and workshops and plan for the coming year. Their class sizes are getting bigger and parents are getting much more demanding. Classes are full of children with special needs (thank you no child left behind) and teachers are struggling to teach to the wide range of students who are entering elementary school. The Mountain View and Los Altos School District teachers should be compensated equally to the high school teachers. The elementary school's are the building blocks for those successful students down the road. It is too bad the Superintendents and School Boards of both those district's don't value their teachers like the MVLA high school district. It's a shame!

3 people like this
Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2010 at 9:20 am


I worked 15 hour days/weekends/summers in a technical profession and still did not receive this type of compensation. Your compensation is extremely good. Be thanful for what you have.

3 people like this
Posted by InTheKnow
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Teachers' summers are WITHOUT PAY, as are vacations! Teachers may opt to draw their salaries over 10 or 12 months, giving the impression that we are paid during the summer, but we are not. We do not have three months off during the summer; that it a common misconception. We are unpaid when we continue to work in our classrooms at year's end, and we are unpaid for the days, often weeks, we come in to set up our rooms to make them a pleasing place in which to be. We plan as grade level partners and as individuals. As an elementary school teacher, I typically put in a 60 - 80 hour work week. I spend hundreds of dollars of my own money every year on classroom supplies, materials, and books for my students. Fortunately, I love teaching. But the disparity between the pay between elementary and high school is not right. Nor is our salary adequate.

3 people like this
Posted by another teacher
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

About the misconceptions I hear everyday regarding teacher's retirement pensions,.... a large portion of my monthly salary is sent to STRS, and it is not matched by the school district. It's similar to buying an annuity, and the payout is determined in part by the option I choose (less money in order to provide monthly income to a spouse if I pass on first.) Otherwise my survivor receives a very small final sum. If I outlive the average person, it's a good deal, but if I die younger, it's not. That's the way insurance works. If teachers have good pensions, it's because they are required to save not because the public is gifting them undeserved largess.

3 people like this
Posted by Evan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:28 am

another teacher:

that's why you should "spike your salary" right before retiring like past supe and assist supe did in MVWSD! Roll in everything you can (cost of health insurance, travel expences, ect into your final high three).

3 people like this
Posted by D. Morton
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I am a father of a first grade teacher in Butte county and I can tell you it is one of the hardest and mentally demanding jobs one can have. Parents expect the teacher not only to teach their children, but to do the things that they as parents should be doing at home, such as discipline, respect for peers and elders, accountabiliy, etc. Teachers also put in extra hours nightly and on weekends preparing lessons and grading papers, etc. Yet even with this, the rewards of being a teacher are enormous, for they are the teachers and mentors of the next generation.

3 people like this
Posted by Parent at MVHS
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Neighbor asked: "Which is the high school district and which is the elementary school district? (and why are they different?)" School districts in California are not set up like in other places. Where I grew up, each city/town had its own school district; sometimes small towns were combined into one district. Here, the districts were each created separately, at different times over the last century and a half, and the districts overlap. Sometimes you have Unified districts (like Palo Alto, where all the schools in K-12 are one district) but more often you have separate elementary districts and high school districts. For ours, Mountain View Whisman School District(MVWSD) (encompassing most of Mountain View and a handful of Palo Alto addresses) and Los Altos School District (LASD)(encompassing most of Los Altos, part of Mountain View, and a bit of Palo Alto) both feed into the Mountain View Los Altos High School District. Half of the kids in each high school are from MVWSD, half from LASD. Separate district, separate funding, separate administration. This is just "how it is" in California.

Now, about parcel taxes. The High School District has never assesed a parcel tas. Both elementary districts have them, and property owners who live within the respective district's boundaries pay the parcel tax accordingly, to either LASD or MVWSD. Parcel tax revenues can be used for teacher's salaries and other programs.

The High School district is placing a BOND measure on the ballot. Bond measures cannot pay for salaries, they pay for facilities improvements. A short way to remember this is Parcel taxes=People, Bonds=Buildings.

From what I can tell, in general teachers' salaries are commensurate with how much money a school district has. I agree with the earlier poster who demonstrated that the communities with higher-educated parents have higher-paid teachers. More property tax revenue could account for some of this (higher education=higher income=nicer homes and high test scores=higher property values in the district=more property tax revenue), if the districts are basic aid (if you don't know what "basic aid" is, Google California Education Funding, then prepare to read a lot and still be confused!), but also because parents in those districts are able to support educational foundations and parcel taxes, providing supplemental funding to districts and freeing up funding for salaries.

Mountain View Los Altos High School District is a Basic Aid district, and is relatively well-funded compared to many California School Districts. They are not rolling in dough, and are experiencing cutbacks due to the funding crisis, but to a lesser degree than many other districts. Hence, they have been able to pay their teachers more. I think they are fortunate that they have been able to compensate the teachers so well, at least so far. I will say that I think they have excellent teachers. And, High School Teachers all need specialized teaching credentials rather than general credentials. You do want your Calculus or Physics AP teachers to really know their stuff. So these are people who could probably make more money in industry, but their calling is teaching. I don't have a problem with how much they are paid. I'm glad we have high caliber instructors preparing our kids for top-notch colleges.

Those who complain that teachers have cushy jobs must not have any friends or family who are teachers. Lots of fun to go on a vacation weekend with one and watch them spend hours correcting homework. Teachers work a lot more hours outside of the school day and calendar.

3 people like this
Posted by former teacher
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2010 at 7:44 am

I have been both a high school teacher and a tech professional.

Which pays more? Tech, by a long shot! Which is more demanding?

Engineering for me requires long hours and often missed vacations, but there was always an ebb and flow to the work, both long term and short term. If I'm not feeling well, or just having a slow morning, it is usually manageable. I spend long hours in the cube, but at least for me, when I go home I leave work at work.

Teaching is brutal in comparison. Teachers are ALWAYS "on". Not feeling great, or just having a hard time getting going in the morning? Too bad. There are students expecting a creative, energetic, and sharp person to lead their class. And when I went home at the end of the day? Plenty of work came with me. Feeling like you need to miss a day due to illness or family matters? Better think twice, because catching up is really, really tough.

Summer? Nearly every summer I had was spent working an average of 10 to 20 hours a week. I frequently attended week long all day seminars without pay, and was usually overhauling or creating lesson plans throughout. I often was prepping for a new to me course for the next school year. I laughed at the comments containing "3 months off for summer". It's not nearly "off", and mine were much closer to two.

I know there are engineers and other professionals who are "on" throughout the day. I'm just sharing my own experience.

Side thought? Superintendant Groves needs to give more thought to whether his teachers are indeed second to none. Most of them are quite good, but he is still paying top dollar to a significant percentage of clunkers.

3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Dec 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm

For those of you that complain about teachers "having it easy" with summers off and only work during school hours; I say to you pull your heads out of the sand!!! Teachers put up with some kids that have absolutely no manners and don't respect most of the teachers, it's incredible. These children are a reflection of their small minded, rude, parents. Keep in mind when these bad parents send their kids to school the only guidance the children have is what the teacher teaches them. (Yes most teachers will take time to teach your kids respect.)

For those of you in the tech. industry(DCS) saying that you work long 15 hours. Don't complain I'm sure you are compensated very nicely and if you don't like it go work somewhere else. McDonalds might be hiring. Teaching is the most underrated profession there is. They make so many sacrifices to barely eek by in life so they can do something that is more noble then create the next iphone and take home a Christmas bonus which is more than a teacher makes in a year.

For my final thought keep in mind teachers don't become teachers to become wealthy they become teachers so they can help the youth in the community develop and eventually become a productive member in society. In my eyes they are the ones that will ultimately change the world because they influence the youth that will one day run it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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