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More than a fifth of all Arizona teacher positions remain unfilled, survey finds

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PHOENIX — A survey released Thursday revealed more than a fifth of all Arizona teacher positions remain unfilled.

Data from the Arizona School Personnel Administrator’s Association indicated 21% of teacher positions across the state this year were vacant, and almost half of the filled positions are taken by people who do not meet the state’s certification requirements.

Last year, about 25% of teacher positions across the state at this point were unfilled. That figure was about 18% in 2017.

“These results reinforce the need to increase funding for public education,” the association said in a press release. “Arizona teacher pay remains one of the lowest in the country, even with the recent education budget increase.”

About 150 school district and charter schools participated in the survey, which was completed Aug. 30.

Arizona is in the second year of Gov. Doug Ducey’s “20 for 20” plan, which pledged to raise teacher salaries by an average of 10% last year, plus 5% each of the following two years.

The average Arizona teacher salary for the current school year is $55,361, according to the governor’s office. The National Education Association estimated the national average for 2018-2019 to be $61,730.

“School districts and charter schools compete nationally for the limited pool of candidates,” the association said in the release. “The inability to offer competitive salaries severely limits public schools from attracting the best and the brightest.”

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