Arizona has the lowest wages for teachers in the nation, report finds

Feb 18, 2021, 4:55 AM

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Teacher pay in Arizona can’t seem to catch up to the rest of the country, according to a new report.

It ranks the state 50th for median annual teacher pay, which is about $47,606 when adjusted for cost of living. Rhode Island ranks first, with nearly $76,877 in median pay for teachers.

Among metropolitan areas, Phoenix ranked No. 48 and Tucson ranked No. 50.

“We’re not surprised by it,” Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said. “You can move to any of the surrounding states and still get an increase in salary.”

He added that any educator in Arizona “will tell you that they are underpaid.”

The report was done by HireAHelper, a California-based company that connects people with local movers across the country. Rankings were based on wage and employment data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2019.

A spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey’s office pointed out the report doesn’t take into account the full 20% teacher pay raises that were part of the governor’s “20X2020 plan.”

He added funding for education and teacher salaries is “a top priority” for the governor.

Ducey’s budget proposal for the upcoming year focuses heavily on education. It also includes $200 million in cuts to the state income tax that would rise to $600 million in the third year, which Thomas said he’s worried about.

“What Arizona has done over decades is they have cut taxes,” he said. “That has had a significant impact on our education funding, and a significant part of education funding is paying the people that work there.”

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Arizona has the lowest wages for teachers in the nation, report finds