PHOENIX - Valley teachers and education leaders are outraged by recent news that Gov. Doug Ducey has given his staff members up to 20 percent raises.
The reported staff member raises come despite Arizona teachers being offered raises of less than 1 percent because of a meager budget.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, calls it another slap in the face for Arizona teachers.
“We’ve had the opportunity to give teachers a 4 percent raise and instead teachers got a 1 percent stipend which means some teachers are literally getting $300 out of this," he said. "That’s not going to keep people in the classroom. We have to be serious about the teaching crisis in Arizona.”
Jesus Rubalcava is a special education teacher at Bales Elementary in Buckeye, and also the school board president of the Gila Bend Unified School District. He says it’s his ninth year teaching and he is nowhere near close to making $45,000 per year.
“It kind of shows where the priorities lie and I think that’s what’s not sitting well with the teachers. We do feel undervalued,” Rubalcava said.
Gov. Ducey called for more spending on education in his state of the state address back in January.
“Let’s take these new dollars and put them where they will have the greatest impact on students,” said Ducey. “It’s time for a raise for Arizona teachers."
It was his biggest crowd-pleaser.
12 News reached to Ducey's office for comment. Here is Ducey's statement in full:
"Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, state government has been reduced in size by nearly 1,000 employees. So has the Governor’s Office, which has 10 less staffers than before he took office and has not had a budget increase since 2008. In most cases, raises were given through promotion with expanded roles and responsibilities using existing dollars. When it comes to new dollars, those are going to K-12 education — including $68 million ongoing for a permanent pay raise for all teachers. Today’s press conference is a completely partisan exercise by a partisan group, based on flawed data and misinformation. The governor will continue to fight for higher teacher pay in any way he can.”