Working on the weekend

Teachers are not making enough to live in Austin forcing them to get an extra job


Angela Glass

Ebone Zamarron works a hosting shift at Magnolia’s Cafe to earn extra cash to help provide for her two daughters. She also works another job for some extra spending cash.

The average Austin ISD teacher makes about $23,019 less than the amount that Go Banking Rate estimates is needed to live comfortably.

In Austin ISD, an average teacher’s salary was $50,144 in the 2016-2017 school year, which is the most recent year the data is available. This is about $2,400 less than the state average.

According to an article listed on the Go Banking Rates website, it costs about $73,163 to live comfortably in Austin. The article compares the average median household income and then uses the commonly accepted 50-30-20 budget rule (50 percent for essentials, 30 percent for discretionary spending and 20 percent for savings) to calculate the amount.

With Austin ISD teachers’ salaries so far behind the $73,163 recommended to live in Austin comfortably, it’s no wonder that so many Akins teachers are working a second job besides teaching.

“I couldn’t afford to live and be a teacher if I didn’t work a second job,” social studies teacher Katie Delmore said.

For many teachers, the decision to take on a second job is viewed as a necessity to support their families. Science teacher Enrique Reyes, who is single, said that he doesn’t think he could sustain a family with his salary.

“I don’t think I can have a family with the kind of salary that I’m getting. I don’t know how other teachers do it, I could never be a single parent working just as a teacher,” Reyes said.

Some teachers said that working second jobs impact their family in a negative way. History teacher Richard Kelly said that he doesn’t have enough time to do chores around the house or spend time with family because if he does, he will be losing the income his second job provides for his expenses and family.

“I’d love to spend more time with my daughter and stuff like that,” Kelly said.

English teacher Ebone Zamarron, who works as a host and a waitress at Magnolia Cafe, has worked a second job since 2014. She had to get a second job to support her two daughters. She said her income as a teacher was not enough to support her family.

“It’s definitely not enough to support two kids and to pay all your bills to live in Austin,” Zamarron said. “So I have two other jobs basically to stay a teacher.”

Math teacher Becky Lego said that she thinks that aid should be supplied to teachers in order to help cut the cost of living. Lego said that rent should be subsidized for teachers.

I couldn’t afford to live and be a teacher if I didn’t work a second job”

— Social studies teacher Katie Delmore

“I’ve heard of plenty of towns and cities where they have subsidized rent for teachers particularly,” Lego said. “I’m not saying they need to pay for all of it, (but) then I wouldn’t have to work a second job and I could just concentrate on the job of a teacher.”

Zamarron said that she believes that teachers need to be paid more money, although she is aware of all of the outcomes that would hold. She said that raising pay for teachers is difficult because it could require raising taxes.

“That’s why private school teachers get paid more since people are paying tuition,” Zamarron said. “The state pays us, but the state only gets money from property taxes so from people owning their homes. If people don’t want to raise their property taxes, we don’t get any more money.”