(CBS DETROIT)

(CBS DETROIT) – For the past three years Detroit Public Schools Community District’s teacher compensation has been on an upswing. That’s according to a statement released by school administrators, so much so that starting teaching salaries are the highest in the state.

Nicole Stuckey has been a Spanish teacher at Mumford High School for two years.

She says her passion for education is what drives her to teach, not the pay.

“I did start driving for Lyft before the pandemic but then I was like I can’t do this. I’m too tired. I’m literally too tired. I just can’t. But that would be the best way to make that extra money,” said Stuckey.

Back in 2017, DPSCD starting teacher salaries were around $35,000.

Today’s average is $51,000.

Mid-level salaries jumped $13,000 to $70K while senior teachers take home just over $76,000.

“It is one of the most important jobs in the world and if we want teachers to stay committed and to stay focused on teaching, to be the best teachers possible, we have to start compensating them. Giving them what they deserve,” she said.

DPSCD and the Detroit Federation of Teachers ratified a one-year contract Monday.

In addition to pay raises, the agreement includes bonuses for employed and retired DFT members.

According to the district, the negotiations started back in February before the pandemic, but some teachers say they believe talks were settled sooner due to frustrations over Covid-19.

“The pandemic and just in general a lot of I think they are very aware that teachers are frustrated and angry at the moment and speeding this up will quiet them for a little while,” she said.

DFT leaders were not available for comment but DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said in a statement the district is delivering its promise to improve salaries, benefits and to retain and recruit teachers.

© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.