The American Federation of Teachers-Utah says legislative analysts are using dubious figures to cloud the needs of education.

The federation criticized a recently released report that shows Utah teachers' pay compares favorably with that of their peers in surrounding states. The report showed Utah's teachers are the second highest paid in the Intermountain region when benefits and cost of living factors are considered.To include retirement and Social Security benefits in the Utah salary figures does not fairly represent the money teachers have to live on from day to day, said AFT spokesman Ken Zenger.

"Then, to throw in the old argument that Utah's cost of living is significantly less is to further cloud the needs of Utah education."

National AFT research shows that income adjusted for cost-of-living factors is still lower for Utah than other Intermountain states, except for Idaho. Utah teachers would exceed Idaho by only $55 per year, he said.

Utah's salaries are not yet good enough to attract and retain quality teachers, said Zenger.