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Teachers to walk out Thursday and Friday: Pay and benefits big issues

DENVER -- Thousands of teachers are expected to walk out and rally at the state Capitol on Thursday and Friday.

While the protests are to try and address a number of issues, one of the biggest talking points the teachers will have is about pay.

There's a wide variety of salaries across Colorado. In a smaller district such as Weld County, teachers on average make $44,672 a year, while teachers in the Cherry Creek School District on average make $71,711.

Because the numbers vary, it's hard to put teacher pay in Colorado into one category.

“It is significantly below the national average, and impacting the educator shortage here in Colorado," said Kerrie Dallman with the Colorado Education Association.

FOX31 and Channel 2 compiled a list of the average teacher salaries throughout the state. Some teachers such as in Lake County make on average $40,508 a year.

Teachers in Denver on average make $50, 757.

“Most educators will tell you that their day doesn’t just begin and end with the school bell,” Dallman said.

Dallman said most of the teachers she knows spend extra hours after school to plan and grade.

“You have teachers who are working well beyond 40 hours a week,” Dallman said.

If teachers work about 12 hours a day for 187 days, or nine to 10 months, that means they work about 2,244 hours.

Divide the hours by a $57,154 a year, the average Jefferson County School District salary, teachers are making $25.46 an hour.

A Lake County average salary at $40,508 comes to $18.05 an hour.

Teachers get about nine to 10 weeks off during the summer, depending on the district. They also get another two to three weeks off during the school year for winter break, spring break and other holidays.

A lot of educators say they use most of their off days for conferences and furthering their education.

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