Arizona Teacher Of The Year: State’s Top K-12 Priority Should Be Teacher Salaries

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The two most recent Arizona Educational Foundation Teachers of the Year delivered a letter Monday to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office on behalf of the AZ Schools Now coalition.

Among other things, the education groups want the governor to redirect the money he’s set aside for new K-12 initiatives in his budget proposal to teacher salaries.

Michelle Doherty is a first-grade teacher at Encanto Elementary in Phoenix and the 2017 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year.

For his part, Ducey has acknowledged the state’s teacher shortage and the importance of hiring and keeping teachers. He also pointed out that last year’s voter-approved Proposition 123 has been a factor in that area. Ducey said his budget has a lot to like for K-12 public education.

Christine Marsh, Arizona Educational Foundation’s Teacher of the Year 2016, says we can and should give teachers a $2,000 bump this year, but worries the governor’s plan to pay $200 more a year will do little to keep good teachers in Arizona.

“I’m afraid it is going to have the opposite effect and drive teachers out. Because if they think to themselves, ‘This is what the governor means when he’s going to help education?’ I’m out,” she said.

-Originally published by Mark Brodie, KJZZ The Show, 1/24/17 at 2:51 pm