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Arizona teacher hopes pay raise will help her cut back at 3 side jobs

Lisa Kling at a #RedForEd rally last month. (Courtesy photo)

KTAR News 92.3 FM continues to cover education in Arizona. This week’s focus is on “The Changing Face of the Arizona Teacher.”

PHOENIX — An elementary school teacher in Phoenix said Monday that she hopes a 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers will allow her to work less hours at one of her three side jobs.

Lisa Kling told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos that, on top of working as a teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary School, she works as a Starbucks barista, a group fitness instructor and recently started an online wine service.

Kling is not sure whether the pay raise will allow her to cut back on hours at those jobs “because I don’t physically put anything into my retirement because I need all my paycheck to survive. But hopefully now I will be able to,” she said.

“I love being a fitness instructor, I don’t do that for the money at all. That is definitely not a well-paying job, I do it for the love of helping people get healthy,” she added.

“And I’m a barista at Starbucks, which I love to do. I could probably cut down on some of my hours, which would be nice, because I only have two more years with my daughter before she goes to college, so I want to enjoy these last two years with her.”

Kling, who has been a teacher for more than 20 years, said the pay raise that was recently approved by Gov. Doug Ducey to give teachers across the state a 20 percent raise by 2020 will be her first raise in years.

The Washington Elementary School District, which encompasses Sunnyslope, proposed a 15.5 percent pay raise for teachers for the 2018-2019 school year. That pay raise included the 9 percent salary increase provided by the education budget and an already-provided teacher increase, which is 6.5 percent on average.

“Our district has been wonderful about getting us a pretty substantial raise. I think it’s a really, really good start for teachers. I’m encouraged, I’m really encouraged by it. And I’m thrilled they did this for us,” Kling said.

“It’s not everything Red For Ed was hoping for, in terms of the main goals for getting money back into the classroom and for the kids, but it’s a good start for teachers. And hopefully it keeps good teachers, because we’ve lost really good teachers because of the financial part of it.”

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