PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona teachers got a raise; still, many said they're forced to take a side gig to pay the bills. Teacher wages in Arizona are still some of the worst in the country. Voters approved a measure to pay them more, but experts tell Arizona's Family that it's not enough.

"They always bring a smile to my face," said Torrie Davis, who teaches special students in Phoenix. She also works at a shoe store part-time.

"We are unfortunately underpaid," said Davis. She said this is the reality for some Arizona teachers. "I don't even make enough money to live on my own," said Davis. "So I moved back in with my parents."

According to HireAHelper, the Phoenix area is 48 out of 50 in teacher pay in metropolitan cities with median annual earnings of just under $48,000, not including special education teacher pay.

"Sometimes I tell other teachers that we are 51st because it's that bad," said Davis.

Marisol Garcia, the Arizona Education Association vice president, said Prop 208 helped move the needle for teacher pay but more has to be done, like limiting class sizes. She also wants to see salaries being discussed at the Arizona state legislature.

"We need to talk about the fact that legislators are not even talking or bringing forward policies to talk about these issues," said Garcia. "We also have many positions open."

In other words, a teacher shortage, a big reason why teachers like Davis won't quit on the kids. "Who's going to teach your students if I quit and find another job?" said Davis.


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