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Arizona Rural School Association supports teacher pay proposal

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during the panel The Opioid Crisis, at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Rural Schools Association supports Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to increase teacher salary, the group said in a release Monday.

The association, made of 106 districts in cities spread throughout Arizona, said it is “impressed by the effort” Ducey took to develop the proposal.

“Rural schools in Arizona have a broad spectrum of needs and the proposal … enables local school leaders to more effectively address the challenges facing our schools,” the release said.

On Tuesday, Ducey announced the teachers would receive a 20 percent pay raise over the next two years following weeks of protests and walk-ins.

Teachers would see a one percent pay raise in fiscal year 2018, nine percent in fiscal year 2019 and then a five percent raise in both fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

By that time, average salary would be $58,130.

Ducey also pledged $371 million in district assistance to provide flexible funding for various projects.

The Arizona Rural Schools Association website said geographical or isolated circumstances make it difficult for districts to share resources and information. The group believes restoring funds to the pre-Great Recession level will help alleviate these difficulties.

This wasn’t the only group that supported the plan.

The Arizona School Board Association, who backed the proposal, wants in implemented as soon as possible.

“It’s now time to be vigilant to help this proposal to get over the finish line,” said Tim Ogle, the executive director of ASBA.

Long-term funding for the plan has raised questions, though. Despite the promise of the 20 percent raise, teachers are voting on a potential strike Tuesday.

Ogle doesn’t think it’s necessary with the plan in place.

“I think the most effective strategy for teachers now is to keep up the pressure, the momentum moving forward, and not do anything dramatic,” he said.

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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