ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Republican lawmaker proposes $10,000 teacher pay raise

Feb 27, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 8:10 am

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)...

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Republican lawmaker is looking to solve the state’s ongoing teacher shortage with a $10,000 pay raise, but opponents worry this approach is not sustainable.

State Rep. Matt Gress, R-Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show last week he believes not enough money is getting into teachers’ pockets.

He wants to change that with HB 2800. His bill would phase in a $10,000 raise for teachers by 2025 through the “Pay Teachers First Fund.”

“This plan would put 100% of those dollars into the classroom,” Gress said.

This comes as the latest survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) shows the state’s K-12 public schools continue struggling to retain and hire new teachers.

According to the survey of 194 school districts and charter schools that participated, 25% of teacher positions remained open in January.

“The latest data is certainly worrisome,” ASPAA President Alexis Wilson said.

She added her group is “very concerned” to see there has been very little progress made since her group started tracking teacher vacancies seven years ago, despite recent teacher pay raises.

Wilson said while she thinks raising teacher pay is one of the best ways to attract and retain teachers, she doesn’t support HB 2800.

Her concerns stem from the bill coming with a $700 million price tag that lawmakers would have to approve every year. Otherwise, the pay raises for teachers disappear.

“I think anything that the Legislature is trying to do to increase salaries has to be sustainable,” Wilson said.

Other opponents worry the bill leaves out pay raises for support staff, including bus drivers, nurses and librarians. They also worry the additional funding would push schools over the Aggregate Expenditure Limit, which caps how much school districts can spend every year.

Gress pushed back against the opposition, saying his bill offers “a plan that I think moves the bar in a significant direction on teacher pay.”

HB 2800 passed out of the House Appropriations Committee last week mostly along party lines, with one Democratic lawmaker joining Republicans in support of the bill.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A student was found with a gun at Youngker High School in Buckeye on Feb. 28, 2024. (Google Maps Sc...

KTAR.com

Student found with gun at West Valley high school

A student was found with a gun at a West Valley high school on Wednesday, authorities said.

60 minutes ago

The front end blade of an Arizona Department of Transportation snowplow...

Kevin Stone

Here’s the scoop: ADOT reveals results of name-a-snowplow contest

After tallying more than 9,500 votes, the Arizona Department of Transportation revealed three winners for its second name-a-snowplow contest.

3 hours ago

A sign reading "for lease" is seen in the foreground with a house behind it...

Kevin Stone

Arizona AG accuses landlords of illegally conspiring to raise rents in Phoenix, Tucson areas

Arizona's attorney general filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing multiple companies of illegally conspiring to fix rent prices in Phoenix and Tucson.

4 hours ago

A Frontier Airlines plane can be seen on the ground, casting a shadow, in a file photo...

Kevin Stone

Frontier Airlines adding nonstop service between Phoenix and Montana city

Discount carrier Frontier Airlines will launch new nonstop service between Phoenix and Montana this spring.

5 hours ago

Mesa man smiles for picture!...

KTAR.com

Silver Alert canceled for Mesa man with cognitive disability

A silver alert was canceled Wednesday morning for a man with a cognitive disability last seen in Mesa, authorities said.

7 hours ago

A man is seen walking into a Macy's store that has closing signs in the windows...

Kevin Stone

Valley business consultant says Macy’s plan to close 150 stores is long overdue

A Valley business consultant said she wasn’t surprised when Macy’s announced plans Tuesday to close 150 underperforming department stores over the next three years.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Arizona Republican lawmaker proposes $10,000 teacher pay raise