January 8, 2019
In the spring of 2018, Governor Doug Ducey proposed and the Arizona Legislature adopted a $650 million plan to raise average teacher pay statewide 20 percent by 2020. Referred to in shorthand as 20×2020, the first round of dollars went to schools this summer as part of their current year budget.
The next allocation of pay raise dollars has already been approved by the Governor and Legislature and will go to schools next school year. The transparency and accountability provisions embedded in 20×2020 required the Arizona Department of Education to collect reports from every district and charter system to ensure these dollars were indeed going to teachers.
Based on the timing of the allocation of the dollars, the level of pay and experience for teachers in each system, teacher pay in Arizona public schools increased by an average of approximately 8.8%. District schools reported an average increase of 9.2% (average teacher pay is now at $53,933) and charters reported an average increase of 8.5% (average teacher pay is now at $48,469). It is expected that public schools should be reporting around an 18-20 percent increase by next year. However, at 8.8%, this increase is already far and away larger than historic annual increases. Using the most recent year with available data as an example, it is four times larger than the percentage increases seen in any state in 2017 except South Dakota which had an 11% increase that year. It’s likely that we will be one of if not the largest increase for 2018.
Click here to see the full report for parents, teachers and advocates to use to track their district and charter systems’ progress in getting these dollars to classroom teachers:
Keep in mind when reviewing the results of this plan that recession-era cuts to a portion of school funding called “additional assistance” is also being phased out. Those dollars will be returned to schools for pay, classroom supplies and other needs. There is and will be a diminishing need to reroute dollars that should go to pay to other needs. Where percentages were lower than expected, districts and charters often noted their reason “why” the raises did not reach the nine or 10% threshold expected by the public and policy makers.
We will continue to monitor this data and hope that school boards and school leaders prioritize these dollars for teacher pay increases. Please thank and encourage the schools for using these dollars as intended – to pay Arizona teachers what they deserve and continuing to improve our overall educational environment.