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Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey to push for teacher raises in upcoming months

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
LISTEN: Governor Doug Ducey

PHOENIX — In his ongoing push to advance education in the state, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said teachers should expect to get a raise in the upcoming months.

Ducey said in an interview with Mac and Gaydos on Tuesday that he wants to “take the lead” on advancing K-12 education in Arizona, a move that starts with filling the more than 2,000 open teacher positions statewide.

“Teachers are going to get a raise,” which could come as soon as the next 40 days, Ducey said. “Education is a state responsibility and it is not a partisan issue.”

Ducey said he will lay out the road map for teacher raises in Friday’s legislative session, but that he ultimately wants to pass a law so the “bulk” of leftover money in the budget goes to K-12 teachers.

In an effort to fill the thousands of open teaching positions, Ducey proposed a $1,000 signing bonus for teachers in low-income areas.

“The budget is in better shape, the economy is turning in the right direction,” he said.

Ducey also proposed the idea of debt forgiveness for teachers at the public universities and community colleges in the state.

“Teachers can take decades to pay off their debt,” Ducey said. “We want to make a deal with teachers that if you come and do the profession, your debt and tuition will be paid for.”

“We want teachers to know they make a difference,” Ducey said. “As a governor, I value their work.”

Ducey made education a major focus in his third State of the State address on Monday, saying it is “time to return the favor” for teachers in the state.

“This is an investment by the state of Arizona in recognizing and rewarding the work of our teachers in a way that is fair, permanent and fiscally responsible,” Ducey said in his address.