BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A Maryland teachers' union is citing a new poll that shows educators in the state are reporting financial strains.
According to the findings, 91 percent of Maryland educators paid for school supplies out-of-pocket, 41 percent had a second job to make ends meet and 37 percent have student debt.
Those numbers are higher among younger teachers, with 61 percent of those under 30 working a second job and 49 percent of those under 50 having student debt.
A majority of teachers also said inadequate staffing levels make it hard to keep their "head above water," their schools don't have the funding they need and their salaries make it hard for their families to make ends meet.
The poll was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based firm GBA Strategies.
“Far too many educators are struggling to make ends meet. It’s clear that Maryland needs to do more for our teachers and school staff,” said Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association teachers' union and a Baltimore County elementary teacher, in a statement from MSEA.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous praised the report, saying in a statement Wednesday that he would raise teacher pay by 29 percent if elected so Maryland can "retain the best teachers in the country."
"Public servants who sign up to make a difference in the lives of our kids should not have to go into personal debt or work second jobs just to make ends meet for their families," said Jealous in the statement. "Unfortunately, with schools underfunded by billions of dollars every year, teachers in our state are significantly underpaid."
Gov. Larry Hogan's spokesperson reacted to Jealous by saying: “Over the last four years, Maryland's public schools have received a record $25 billion in funding, and this year, the governor’s education 'lock box' for casino revenue is in front of voters, which would boost spending by an additional $4.4 billion. Increasing education funding is vital but it's also not enough which is why Governor Hogan has also fought to increase accountability in our local school systems, so that this money ends up where it belongs - with our teachers and in our classrooms."
Maryland has some of the highest-paid teachers in the country, according to a report by Niche.com last year that looked at average teaching salaries nationwide and the salary differences between public and private schools.
The average starting salary for a Maryland teacher is $44,675, higher than the national average of $38,617.
The average overall salary in Maryland for teachers is $66,961, while the average teacher salary in America (non-starting) is $58,950.
Washington, D.C. has the highest average starting salary for teachers in the country, at $51,359.
Project Baltimore recently reported that more than 100 Baltimore City teachers make more than $100,000.