Stacking up Snoqualmie Valley schools, neighboring districts' pay, achievements

  - Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo
— image credit: Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

How does Snoqualmie Valley stack up?

On the one hand, schools in the Snoqualmie Valley School District are high-achieving, award-winning institutions. On the other, they're desperately crowded and understaffed, with a high teacher turn-over rate because of low teacher salaries. How are these both true statements?

Because they're both only partially true. A comparison of Snoqualmie Valley with other school districts, some local, some brought up for recent comparisons during Snoqualmie Valley's teacher contract negotiations, revealed that this district is neither the worst-performing nor the worst-paying district in the state, and that graduation rates do not increase with teacher experience.

Based on data the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction compiled in its 2011 school profiles report, Snoqualmie Valley was, like all the districts in the comparison, well ahead of the state's 74 percent on-time graduation rate.

In a comparison with 10 other districts -- Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Northshore, Renton, Riverview, Shoreline, Tahoma, Tukwila and Vashon Island -- Snoqualmie Valley's 85 percent graduation rate was on the low end of the spectrum, which ranged from 81 percent in Renton to 96 percent in Issaquah.

The Valley's teaching staff averaged about 13 years of teaching experience, landing the district in about the middle of the comparison pool. Other districts ranged from 11 years at Bellevue, Tukwila and Renton, and 12 in Issaquah, to 17 years at Vashon Island. Statewide, the average is 14 years.

A related measurable, the percentage of teachers at a district with five or fewer years of experience, offered the same result. With about 25 percent of teaching staff in that range, Snoqualmie Valley was higher than the state average of 21 percent, but lower than Bellevue and Renton, which reported 34 percent less-experienced teachers. Vashon Island, with the highest-average years of experience, reported the lowest percentage of inexperience, 14.

The average base salary for teachers in these districts ranged from a low of $49,591 in Tukwila, to a high of $56,538 in Northshore. Snoqualmie Valley, at $51,560, was less than the state average of $53,056, but higher than Riverview, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Renton and Bellevue, as well as Tukwila.


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