Teachers respond to Governor Ducey's salary raise proposal

Ducey also pledged to give teachers a 5 percent increase in the fiscal year 2020 budget, and another 5 percent in the year after that.

Teachers in Arizona are getting a 20 percent pay increase over the next two years.

Governor Doug Ducey has announced a new teacher pay raise proposal. He's following that with 5 percent more each in the 2019 and 2020 school years.

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

Democratic Rep. Rebecca Rios acknowledged she was amazed at what a threatened teacher strike in an election 12 months can get the Republicans to do.

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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". As such, Arizona's budgets are still exceptionally tight a decade after the recession.

Teachers wearing red shirts and holding signs are gathering outside Arizona schools to show solidarity in their demand for higher salaries.

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Teachers who organized a grassroots effort that drew almost 45,000 members were cool to the announcement, saying they wanted details before reacting and lacked trust in the governor. Harris says at this point, "there's not really anything to trust".

Joe Thomas, the president of the Arizona Educators Association, described thta proposal as a "shell game" that will force schools to make do with outdated equipment and school facilities.

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

"This has raised more questions for us than answers", said Noah Karvelis, one of the Arizona Educators United organizers. Teachers, students and parents donned red and gathered outside campus before school began to demonstrate as part of the #RedforEd campaign.

Earlier Thursday, a proposal emerged in the Arizona House.

"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.

On Wednesday, Arizona teachers staged a statewide "walk-in", demanding an increase in pay and more funding for schools overall. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, thousands of teachers stormed the state capitol to call for adequate school funding and rally against a recently passed pension reform bill.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard outlined a plan Thursday to boost teacher pay by 6 percent in the coming school year with annual increases that could lead to a 23 percent increase at the end of five years. That comes mainly from redirecting planned increases in school funding directly to teacher pay. "K-12 education is a box that we will never check". "This investment will be in addition to the $371 million in district additional assistance which will provide flexible funding for Arizona schools' most pressing needs - fixing school infrastructure, modernizing curriculum, school buses and updating classroom technologies". He obviously is a huge supporter of the economy.

  • Megan Austin