PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) –
State lawmakers are now looking to boost teacher pay above and beyond Gov. Doug Ducey’s offer.
House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, a Republican from Chandler, said legislators are considering a one percent increase for next year.
While this is more than Ducey’s proposal, it wasn’t well received by at least one teacher who believes the state can do better.
“It’s frustrating and it hurts a little bit. I’ve dedicated myself to this career and to not feel valued is really frustrating,” said Valerie Meyer, who been teaching in the Valley for 22 years.
Currently, the average teacher salary in Arizona is $45,477 a year, according to the Arizona Education Association.
Gov. Doug Ducey made teacher pay a top legislative priority when he delivered his annual State of the State address in January.
Ducey offered to boost teacher pay by 0.4 percent for the first year. That adds up to an extra $181 a year or $3.48 a week.
A one percent increase gives teachers an extra $454 a year or $8.73 a week.
Teacher pay is a top issue at the state Capitol this year.
Arizona is in the midst of a teacher shortage.
Education officials are concerned that the pay raise proposals won’t be enough recruit and retain quality teachers.
The average starting salary for teachers in $34,022, according to the AEA.
The governor’s plan would boost their pay by $136 a year or $2.61 a week.
A one percent raise increases new teacher salaries by $340 a year or $6.53 a week.
“Our house taxes went up by $350 so, you know, I can’t keep up with the cost of living. I can’t keep up with the health insurance rises,” Meyer said.
-Originally published by Dennis Welch, AZ Family on 3/27/17 at 6:56 pm