Billboards call for Arizona teachers to leave for lofty salary in Texas

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 17:31:19-04

They say everything's bigger in Texas, apparently even when it comes to teachers' paychecks.

"Any three, four, five, six thousand dollar raise, who's not going to go," said Phoenix resident Marco Ortigoza.

"If I'm a young instructor and I'm fed up with the low pay I might consider doing that," said Mesa Community College Professor Todd Verch.

What's to consider is Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas and a $52,000 starting salary.

"I think it motivates the state to pay our teachers more to keep them here," said Nancy Abalos who saw the sign Tuesday.

RELATED: Teacher salaries in Arizona: See how much each district pays teachers

Something lawmakers and districts have been hard at work to make happen.

Scottsdale Unified is the latest district to lay out pay raise plans with starting salaries boosted from $36,593 to $41,320 per year.

"To move to Texas, that's a tougher draw," Verch said.

But that hasn't stopped Fort Worth from mounting an aggressive campaign.

Five digital signs can be spotted on the Loop 202, State Route 51, Interstate 10 and off 7th and Lincoln streets.

"It's a very good tactic, good on Texas," Abalos said.

Fort Worth put the signs up in Oklahoma too, even snagging two teachers from that area. 

Verch applauds the lone star state's rich offer.

"Do what you've got to do, this is an enterprise country right, this is a capitalist country, so if you need teachers, you got a shortage of teachers, you go to find where the teachers are at," Verch said.

And where better to start than the most visibly vulnerable state that for months saw teachers rocking Red for Ed shirts and walking out of classrooms in protest for higher wages.

"I'm sure they got a raise but like I said it's not enough, to see this go work somewhere else for more money, ouch is right," Ortigoza said.

We spoke with district officials in Scottsdale who say the billboards are fair game and they don't fault districts for attempting to steal talent.

RELATED: Arizona teacher raises: Questions remain over district proposals

That's exactly why they say they've been working so hard to level the playing field.