Archived Story

A look back at teacher pay

Published 10:55am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recently the Alabama legislators approved a 2 percent raise for Alabama teachers. Based on past experience, teachers have good reason to be concerned about their pay.

Jan. 3, 1915 – William F. Feagin, state superintendent of education, says that payment of salaries of teachers of the state for December services may be delayed owing to the poor condition of the treasury. The salaries of the teachers were due today.

Jan. 7, 1933 – Imploring the Legislature for aid to keep the schools from closing, the Morgan County Teachers Organization Thursday offered to take a 25 per cent in members’ salaries for the second semester of the 1932-33 term and urged similar reductions for all other state employees. In offering to accept the cut, the Morgan teachers stipulated that no teacher’s salary could be made less than $50 a month.

March 12, 1936 – The young people’s department of the First Baptist Church honored the young women members of the MCHS faculty with a dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Sherrill. These students recognize that their instructors labor for low and uncertain wages under very stressful conditions.

June 23, 1934 – Twelve thousand dollars, partial payments from state and county funds, are currently being disbursed to 200 Morgan County teachers. The money goes for salaries unable to be paid before federal funds were obtained several months ago to keep the schools in operation a full term.

July 18, 1935 – Teachers salaries in Morgan County are now $15 weekly. They are paid from a combination of federal aid and state funds.

Aug. 17, 1939 – County Superintendent of Education Irwin J. Quinn has endorsed the proposal to set up a teachers’ retirement fund.

Aug. 31, 1908 – Prof. J. H. Riddle of Hartselle, principal of the new county high school currently under construction here, is to be paid $1,000 a year and his assistant, Prof. J. H. Barnard, $900.

Sept. 5, 1958 – Today was “Be Good to Teachers Day” at MCHS.

Oct. 5, 1911 – As a result of the recent liquor election in Morgan County, the sums of money that previously paid schoolteachers and others who labor for the development of the people of the community are no longer available.

Dec. 15, 1894 – It is a fearful trade – this teaching school. The herd of restless, growing boys and girls – no wonder every day slowly brings down the strength and nervous power of the hard- working schoolteacher. “Tired as a Schoolteacher” expresses the utter lanquor and collapse that so few escape before the terms are over. Of all the work open to girls and women, school teaching seems to wear hardest on brain and nerves. The pittance of a wage is not able to make up for the nervous expenditure of the long days consistently put in by the “schoolmarm.” Common symptoms are the frequent sick headache, loss of strength and color in the lips or cheek, low spirits, and nervousness.

Dec. 21, 1912 – News has been received of the death of Mrs. E. A. Oden, the wife of the late superintendent of education of Morgan County. Mrs. Oden’s death was the result of an attack of pneumonia, of which disease her husband also died. The unfortunate death of Mrs. Oden will probably prevent the teachers of Morgan County from receiving their salary before the Christmas holiday. Mrs. Oden was her husband’s assistant and she only was familiar with the details of making out the regular monthly payroll.

Dec. 25, 1932 – Teachers here will carry on through the 1932-33 session for half pay, provided they are paid in cash or negotiable warrants rather than scrip. This decision was reached at a meeting of Morgan County teachers here.

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