State has budget surplus but no promises for more teacher pay raises

Posted: Updated:
The state budget is expected to have an extra quarter billion dollars in the budget but it's unclear how much of that teachers will get. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The state budget is expected to have an extra quarter billion dollars in the budget but it's unclear how much of that teachers will get. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Senate President Steve Yarbrough said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Senate President Steve Yarbrough said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Some teachers say they could strike if they don't get a legitimate pay raise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some teachers say they could strike if they don't get a legitimate pay raise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now.

This comes as teachers have stepped up their pressure on lawmakers to pony up more money they say is already there.

[READ MORE: Hundreds protest low teacher pay at Phoenix radio station]

Last month, the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated the state has $247 million more in cash than expected.

Yarbrough says teacher pay is a top priority of his but the state also has other needs to address.

"There are all sorts of competing needs, whether it's road construction or corrections or public safety, it's a balancing test," Yarbrough said.

[RELATED: Teachers argue for tax cut windfall to finance pay raises]

Arizona teachers rank among the lowest paid in the country.

Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona politics]

As part of his plan, the governor wants to put $100 million into district additional assistance, money used for maintenance, school supplies and potentially teacher pay.

[READ MORE: Gov. Ducey plans to add $100M in capital funding for schools]

But it is not a guarantee as school districts will have the final say on how the money is spent.

Regardless, some teachers are threatening to walk off the job is they don't get a raise.

[RELATED: AZ teachers wear red in push for pay raise; future strike a possibility]

"Together we can accomplish anything and having a strike, it could happen it could happen much sooner than people think," said Shannon Moxley, a sixth-grade teacher in Chandler.

Moxley said her husband quit teaching several years ago because the pay was so low. 

And she warned state leaders to take the demands of teacher seriously.

"This isn't a joke. It's not something we're taking lightly and people have had enough and we have lost too many great teachers from our profession already and we're done," she said.  

RELATED:

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

Hide bio