Arizona governor promises 20 percent teacher raise by 2020

15 April, 2018, 00:18 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Arizona governor promises 20% raise for teachers by 2020

On Wednesday, Arizona teachers staged a statewide "walk-in", demanding an increase in pay and more funding for schools overall.

It was a surprising shift in tone from the governor, who has repeatedly rejected teachers' demands for a raise and school funding.

Earlier this week, the grassroots organization Arizona Educators United told their Facebook members to prepare for a possible walk-out that would close schools.

Under the proposal, average teacher pay would go to over $58,000 by the start of 2020. It also came a day after the Sahuarita Unified School District board approved a 4 percent raise for teachers starting July 1.

The entire state is becoming impoverished because teachers are fleeing to other states to earn a decent living, leaving less qualified people behind to teach our children, said Tracy Alexander, a Walden Grove High School English teacher.

The proposal doesn't increase funding for other school needs. "The winners today are the teachers of Arizona".

"Teachers, parents, and leaders across this state understand that many dollars put into school budgets cannot be spent on teacher pay when school buses are broken down, health insurance and utility costs are going up, class sizes are growing, roofs are leaking, students are missing classroom aids and counselors, and textbooks are 15 years old", Naimark said.

Harris is one of a handful of teachers who started Arizona Educators United in early March.

Democratic Rep. Rebecca Rios mentioned that she was astounded at exactly what a jeopardized teacher hit in a election year can secure that the Republicans to do.


"This will pit teachers against air conditioners and that's a false choice for students", Thomas said.

Those increases, coupled with the 1 percent increase teachers were given previous year, would add up to the 20 percent raises and make the average teacher salary $58,130, Ducey said.

The press conference comes after a month of protests by teachers, administrators, students, parents and members of the community during the #RedforEd campaign.

About 30% of classified staff are being paid minimum wage, Buckley said, making it potentially hard for the district to retain them.

But even if other states froze teacher pay, Arizona's salary under Ducey's proposal would still fall below the national average of $61,370, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

She said the governor is meeting the grassroots activists halfway.

Buckley thinks the #RedForEd movement may have helped push Ducey to propose the raise. And he said he worries that a 10% raise for just teachers could create an "ugly" situation where support staff are left in the dust. "I would be happy to support those efforts in any way that I can", Douglas said in a statement. If they did, classroom sizes wouldn't be so large, teachers wouldn't be expected to pay for classroom supplies and teachers wouldn't be forced to take second jobs and live with roommates in order to pay bills.

Ducey said the 9 percent raises, which will cost $274 million, are a "priority" in his budget proposal.

"This proposal does both of those things, so we hope they will consider that as they weigh the necessity of walking out to be heard", Joraanstad said.

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