Gov. Doug Ducey is betting on Arizona's "incredible growth" to help pay for a 20-percent teacher raise over three years.
But the head of the state's largest teachers' union is sticking by #RedForEd's original demand for a 20-percent raise this year, warning that teachers will ask voters to approve the raise if Ducey doesn't deliver.
The two sides were at odds on this weekend's "Sunday Square Off," as Ducey's proposed legislation to pay for this year's 10-percent raise heads to lawmakers as soon as Monday.
Late Sunday, #RedForEd leaders were reportedly considering a walkout early this week to press their demands.
Ducey Chief of Staff Kirk Adams explained on "Square Off" where the money is coming from to pay for the raises.
"We're seeing incredible growth in Arizona's economy and this plan reflects our ability to put those new dollars ... toward the top priority of the state, which is teachers and students," said Adams, a former House speaker.
Under Ducey's plan, teachers would get a 9-percent raise next fall, in addition a 1-percent raise already approved, then a 5-percent raise in 2019 and another 5-percent raise in 2020.
There is no dedicated funding source for the raises. The governor and Legislature would have to approve the raises in each of the three years.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said on "Square Off" that he wouldn't drop the walkout threat issued last week, despite Ducey's surprising announcement later in the week of the plan to fund teacher raises.
"You're going to get one raise out of this," Thomas said on "Square Off," speaking directly to teachers. "All you can count on is what happens this year... There's just simply not enough money.
"It's what happens now. We either get it in the budget or we go to the ballot."
Education advocates have debated whether to put a statewide initiative on the November ballot, asking voters to approve a single funding source for teacher raises, such as a sales tax.
Dana Wolfe Naimark, chief executive officer of Children's Action Alliance, questioned Ducey's funding plan for the raises.
Adams confirmed that the governor is considering boosting an assessment on state hospitals that's supposed to pay for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
"It's pretty ironic that the Legislature that sued, saying we shouldn't do a hospital assessment to pay for Obamacare, might now rely on more Obamacare money to bail us out of our budget difficulties," Naimark said.
Also on this weekend's "Square Off":
- Phoenix New Times reporter Antonia Noori Farzan explains the potential impact of a state bill that would cut trained archeologists out of the work of identifying historic artifacts on state land. Ranchers support the bill; Native American tribes oppose it.
- The Phoenix Rising soccer team could be the Valley's next big-league franchise, but team owners don't want taxpayer dollars to get there. Co-owner Tim Riester lays out the team's well-developed plan to land a Major League Soccer franchise, and explains why a new billionaire investor makes a huge difference.
"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on 12 News, after NBC's "Meet the Press."
Gov. Doug Ducey is betting on Arizona's "incredible growth" to pay for a 20-percent teacher raise over three years, the governor's chief of staff says.
Joe Thomas, of the Arizona Education Association, warns that teachers will ask voters to approve the raise if the governor doesn't deliver.
Phoenix New Times' Antonia Noori Farzan explains the potential impact of a state bill that would cut trained archeologists out of the work of identifying historic artifacts on state land.
Phoenix Rising co-owner Tim Riester explains the team's game plan for making it to soccer's major league.