Some Phoenix Elementary School District teachers to get pay cuts

Mar 7, 2022, 4:35 AM
(File Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)...
(File Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)
(File Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Some teachers in the Phoenix Elementary School District are upset to hear they’ll see a reduction in pay next school year while others could be getting raises.

A total of 171 teachers, or about 30% of the teachers in the district, will see an average of $5,000 less in their paychecks.

Victor Diaz, human resources director for the district, explained it’s mainly because funding from a 2013 federal grant ran out several years ago.

The grant provided performance-based compensation bonuses to teachers. To qualify, they had to be employed with the district during the 2014-15 school year.

“The grant paid for those for four years,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “We actually were able to sustain it for four additional years. But at the end of this year, the shelf life on that is going to run out, because the set-aside funding has been exhausted.”

A 6th grade teacher who has been with the district for 20 years is among those who will be affected.

“Personally, I will be losing almost 10% of my contract,” she said at a Feb. 24 school board meeting. “I can’t afford to take this pay cut.”

She added this comes at a time when the cost of living is rising and teachers like her are “so close to the end of our careers.” She also expressed disappointment about how she found out.

The district held a town hall meeting with teachers and staff on Feb. 8 to inform them about the compensation changes.

“There was no apology,” the 6th grade teacher said. “There was just a PowerPoint presentation trying to spin it in a positive way.”

Several other teachers shared similar concerns during the school board meeting.

Diaz said the district has been talking to teachers about this for the past two years, adding that staff has spent “hundreds of hours” doing listening tours, focus group conversations and other efforts.

“We wanted to make very clear how their compensation works so that when this fund would run out, they would be very clear on what that would mean,” he said.

At the same time, the district is proposing pay increases that would benefit 65% of certified staff.

Full-time teachers would get paid no lower than $45,000, and all certified staff would get a raise of $1,500 in their base salaries.

In addition, all hourly support staff would get pay raises of as much as $1.76 per hour and their minimum wage would increase to $14 an hour.

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Some Phoenix Elementary School District teachers to get pay cuts