Arizona governor proposes 20 percent teacher raises by 2020

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Those increases, coupled with the 1 percent increase teachers were given previous year, would add up to the 20 percent raises and make the average teacher salary $58,130, Ducey said.

The speaker hopes this will appease teachers who've threatened to strike if they didn't get an immediate 20 percent pay raise.

"It's a good day for teachers in Arizona", Ducey said to open a press briefing.

About 50 teachers, school staff and supporters decked out in red walked along Grand Avenue in Nogales early Wednesday morning, hoisting signs that said "Teachers can not live on apples alone" and "Make teaching great again", and cheering as drivers honked their horns in support.

By Thursday, Republican Doug Ducey managed to scrape $274 million from the cash-starved state's coffers and provide a 20 % wage hike by 2020. That's a district decision. "We are fighting for you so that our resources do not have to be quite so limited anymore", the statement said.

Arizona House Democrats called Ducey's plan a step in the right direction, but said they have misgivings. There isn't enough funding available to address all the needs schools have, be it salaries, broken air conditioning systems or old textbooks.

Just two days earlier, Ducey said he was sticking with his plan to give teachers only a 1 percent pay increase for this coming year. "They're just moving the shells around the table. We are putting more dollars towards our most important priorities: Arizona teachers and classrooms". On Wednesday, April 11th, hundreds of schools across the state of Arizona - including all of the schools in the Humboldt Unified School District - hosted walk-ins. Ducey's plan convinced some to back away from the lawsuit. Under his proposal, average teacher pay would go to $58,130 by the start of 2020, Ducey said, without taking money he promised earlier in the year to restore previous funding cuts.

Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said the plan is popular among some legislative Republicans.

If Ducey's 20 percent pay increase proposal moves forward and is restricted to teachers who were given a 1 percent raise previous year, she said she expects about 50 percent of the district's teaching staff would be affected. But he already proposed $100 million in his budget plan as a start to restoring almost $400 million cuts made earlier in the decade - including $117 million he cut in 2015.

The teacher pay boost will cost and $650 million by 2020 and go into the base school formula that increases for inflation each year. But it does bring dedicated salary increases.

Their proposal also accounts for a recent change to Proposition 301, the six-tenths of a cent sales tax extension approved by the Legislature weeks ago. 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.

The entire state is becoming impoverished because teachers are fleeing to other states to earn a decent living, leaving less qualified people behind to teach our children, said Tracy Alexander, a Walden Grove High School English teacher.

And it could threaten the governor's efforts to settle a capital funding lawsuit.

Ducey, who is up for reelection this year, had previously refused to meet with teacher organizers from the #RedForEd movement, telling a local radio show: "What I don't want to do is get into these political operatives' political circus".

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