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Proposed plan would give Arizona teachers $5,000 raises

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

PHOENIX — Arizona teachers would receive an average raise of about $5,000 under a plan proposed Thursday by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

“My proposal would generate $400 million annually for teacher salaries and school buildings,” Douglas said.

About $300 million of that would be earmarked for teacher pay for the first two years. After that, $350 million would go to teachers.

The 11 percent raise for teachers and an extra $100 million for school repairs — for the first two years and $50 million per year thereafter — would be funded by an expansion of Proposition 301. The sixth-tenths of 1 percent sales tax increase for education was approved by voters in 2001.

Douglas’ plan would increase that tax to a full 1 percent. She said she doesn’t want to ask to raise taxes, but proposed the hike after taking a look at the state’s education funding.

“I hate taxes,” she said. “I’m not in favor of sales tax in particular because I think they hurt our most vulnerable families.

“The reality is that this is the system we have right now. That’s what we have to work with.”

Douglas said she decided to come up with a plan after talking to people across the state.

“It’s not just teachers — it’s parents and John Q. Citizen,” she said. “Overwhelmingly, we heard, ‘Pay our teachers better.'”

Douglas said she does not expect the state Legislature to act immediately on her plan.

“Obviously, they’re in the end days of the session,” she said. “We don’t have to be talking about this during the session but I look forward to working with the governor and state lawmakers.”

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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