May 7, 2019

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week: Let’s celebrate teacher pay raises!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so there is no better time to discuss teacher pay raises here in Arizona!

In the spring of 2018, Governor Doug Ducey proposed and the Arizona Legislature adopted a $650 million plan to raise average teacher salaries statewide 20 percent by 2020. Referred to in shorthand as 20×2020, the first round of dollars went to schools last 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 be part of district and charter budgets next school year. To make sure teachers are getting pay raises they’ve earned, lawmakers built in transparency and accountability into the 20×2020 plan. The law requires the Arizona Department of Education to collect reports from every district and charter system. It’s all part of steps being taken here in Arizona to pay teachers what they deserve.

Based on the timing of the allocation of the dollars, as well as 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 percent this past year. District schools reported an average increase of 9.2 percent (average teacher pay is now at $53,933) and charters reported an average increase of 8.5 percent (average teacher pay is now at $48,469).

Using the most recent year with available data as an example, this increase is four times larger than the percentage increases seen in any state in 2017 except South Dakota which had an 11 percent increase that year. It’s likely that we will be the state with one of, if not the largest, increase for 2018.

And the better news is that it’s expected many public schools should be reporting around an 18-20 percent increase by next year!

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.

This is an encouraging step forward, as the data demonstrates that Arizona’s hard-working teachers are getting well-earned raises.

Here at Arizona Extra Credit, we will continue monitoring this data and updating our readers on teacher pay trends. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to please thank their local schools for using these dollars as intended – to pay Arizona teachers what they deserve and improving our overall educational environment.

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