Arizona teacher raises: Questions remain over district proposals

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 12:47:19-04

Arizona's teachers were told they'd receive a ten percent raise next year, but now the numbers from different districts paint a different picture. 

The argument now is whether the new funding is working as intended or a promise broken by the governor and lawmakers. 

When teachers spent a week walking out of schools and camping out on the Capitol lawn, they demanded a 20 percent pay hike over the next three years, ten percent in the upcoming school year.

The lawmakers agreed by passing the deal, and Governor Doug Ducey signed it.

"When they gave us the money they knew they weren't giving us money for all the teachers. Just some of them," said Jennifer White, an English teacher in the Phoenix Union High School District.

Phoenix Union told ABC15 they only received enough money from the state to give an eight percent pay raise for all certified teachers next year.  

Part of the reason is that Phoenix Union's average pay is already $14,000 above the state average used to calculate additional funding. 

"It allows for the districts that have a lower average salary, they are going to get a larger share of the dollars so that we can retain those teachers," said Daniel Scarpinato, spokesperson for Governor Ducey. 

Scarpinato also said the money given to Phoenix Union, and all districts was only meant for certified classroom teachers, not all certified staff.

"When he said 10 percent for that very fine, defined role we knew it wasn't going to happen and that it was going to be spread out," said Marisol Garcia, Vice President of the Arizona Education Association. 

That means it is up to individual districts to find additional money if they want to pass the raise along to all certified teachers and staff. 

Red for Ed: Gov. Doug Ducey outlines plan to give teachers 20% raise

"We provided the dollars. Now it's up to the elected officials at the school board level and the superintendents to make it happen," Scarpinato said. "Teachers are getting a ten percent raise in districts all across our state."

For example, Mesa Public Schools will use an additional one million dollars in override money to give all certified teachers a 10 percent raise. 

The Chandler Unified School District plans to use a sliding scale with nearly 12 percent raises for teachers on the low end and about 9 percent for those at the top. 

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Peoria is giving classroom teachers 11 percent and certified non-classroom teachers 8.3 percent. 

However, many of these district plans are just that, and they still need to be voted on by the individual school boards.