Published: Sun, April 15, 2018

Ducey plan offers teachers 20 percent pay raise; local reaction

Ducey plan offers teachers 20 percent pay raise; local reaction

Thursday's announcement follows a month of intense pressure from teachers.

On Thursday, after thousands of Oklahoma teachers flooded the capitol to demand more school funding for nearly two weeks, union leader Alicia Priest called for an end to the teacher walkout, conceding to reporters on Thursday night that the teachers' demands wouldn't be satisfied after seeing "no significant legislative movement" since the walkout began. On Wednesday, April 11th, hundreds of schools across the state of Arizona - including all of the schools in the Humboldt Unified School District - hosted walk-ins.

The state Department of Education says Arizona has 1,700 traditional public schools and more than 500 charter schools.

To start, the governor's FY2019 teacher pay increase will be boosted to nine percent. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona elementary teachers earned a median wage of $43,280 in 2017 and high school teachers $46,470, the 3rd and 6th lowest in the nation, respectively.

Governor Doug Ducey today announced that he is continuing investments in Arizona's education system by increasing teacher salaries 20 percent by the beginning of the 2020 school year.

Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation and have been emboldened by pay increases won by educators in west Virginia and Oklahoma in recent weeks. The Governor's proposal calls for a 9 percent increase in teacher salary next year, and then a total increase of 20 percent by 2020.

The Associated Press notes that the educators "were also seeking increased pay for support professionals, a permanent raise structure, and a freeze on corporate tax cuts until per-pupil spending reaches the national average".

Ducey said rising state revenue would help pay for the increase; he also said the plan wouldn't involve a tax hike and that he would maintain a balanced budget.

"We put out there a way to make sure that money that we have that we want to allocate in the coming years specifically goes to teachers", Mesnard said.


As completion of the budget draws near, Ducey says the adjustments will create a lot of work for himself and legislators, but they are ready to take on the challenge.

"My hope is that the collective power of teachers across the state gave the governor some pause", he said.

Mabante, the speech therapist assistant, also mentioned the lack of supplies such as pencils and glue, as well the need to replace outdated textbooks. "By 2023 I think you're at $800 million a year".

Her son, Lincoln second-grader Mathew Yepiz, said he joined the walk-in "to make teaching great again".

Antonio Garcia said he showed up to support his wife, who teaches at Lincoln, and all other teachers.

Thomas said Ducey's announcement "doesn't happen without the #RedForEd movement and without teachers finding their voice".

Last week, Arizona Educators United said they were willing to set a date for a statewide strike, but hadn't picked one as of Friday.

"We've now got super-crowded classrooms".

Frederick said NUSD has fewer problems with teacher shortages than other districts because the local teachers are so connected to the Nogales community. He said he would work with lawmakers to find the money.

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