Arizona teachers and Gov. Doug Ducey have recently begun playing tug of war over a decimal point.
It started on Monday, when Christine Marsh, the 2016 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year, and Michelle Doherty, the 2017 winner, delivered a letter to the governor’s office saying teachers statewide should get a 4.0 percent across-the-board pay hike. By contrast, Ducey is offering only a 0.4 percent raise.
Ducey’s offer does include similar increases every year until the total reaches 2 percent by 2020.
“It’s a step in the right direction,’’ Marsh said. “But that’s not going to solve any issues at all. It’s not going to keep teachers from leaving the profession or leaving the state.”
The governor’s budget includes $114 million in new education money, but salaries account for only $13.6 million of it. The rest is earmarked for full-day kindergarten in the state’s poorest areas; loan forgiveness for math, science and special education teachers; signing bonuses for new teachers willing to work in high-poverty areas; and bonuses for schools who meet certain standards.
Ducey said while he understands the teachers’ argument, he also has to consider other areas of need.
“I also am concerned about our kids, especially our kids in low-income areas,’’ he said. “We’re trying to address both these issues in a thoughtful, positive way.’