School Teachers in Arizona are 50th in salary earnings compared to their colleagues across the country.

Jim Small of the Arizona Mirror published an article citing the findings of HireAHelper, a California firm that conducted the study analyzing instructor salaries across the United States.

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Of the 50 largest cities, Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs of Scottsdale and Mesa ranked 48th with high teacher salaries at $47,851.00. Tucson ranked 50th at $44,153.00.

Of the 187 smallest cities, four Arizona school districts were at the bottom. They were:

  • Lake Havasu: $46,957
  • Flagstaff: $46,956
  • Yuma: $44,689.00
  • Sierra Vista: $43,643.00

Reacting to the news report, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman tweeted:

Dawn Penich-Thacker, the Communications Director for Save Our Schools Arizona wrote:

“As Arizona continues to lag the nation in teacher pay, student investment, and essentials like school counselors, it’s ridiculous that some elected state representatives are focusing on further cuts to public education through private school vouchers instead of moving the needle for our entire state.”

David Lujan, the head of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress commented:

“The report is not a surprise. We have known that Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation and that is a big reason why we also have one of the worst teacher shortages in the nation. Fortunately, help is on the way with the passage of Prop 208 for next school year and beyond. More than 1.6 million Arizonans voted to enact Prop 208 because they want to get schools the funding they need to increase teacher salaries and they were tired of lawmakers failing to do anything about the situation. It is disappointing that opponents of 208 and some lawmakers are trying to ignore the will of the voters and want to block 208 from going into effect through the courts and through legislation. They will not succeed. AZ voters have spoken and it is time to bring teacher pay up to the national average.”

 

Granted that while the study by HireAHelper was conducted before both the 20 percent teacher raises agreed two years ago and Invest in Ed-Proposition 208 have been fully implemented, this report demonstrates that the public servant leaders Arizona may still have much to do to make teaching a financially esteemed profession in the Grand Canyon State.

If the state government and local districts do not, recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers will continue to be a serious challenge for principals, superintendents, and school boards.

 

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