ARIZONA NEWS

Report: Arizona ranks among worst states in nation for public school education funding

Sep 28, 2015, 7:40 PM

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — It is no secret that Arizona is and has been one of the worst states in the nation for education.

After Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey approved a state budget in March that cut nearly $100 million worth of funding from public universities and kept K-12 funding at a minimum, it was clear that Arizona legislators would not make education a priority anytime soon, despite the massive public protests to push for change.

Two women march at a Phoenix protest in March against budget cuts for education. (Twitter/suerthjessica)

Two women march at a Phoenix protest in March against budget cuts for education. (Twitter/suerthjessica)

In a recent report from WalletHub, Arizona ranked dead last in the nation — including Washington D.C. — for public school spending per student, as well as No. 49 for pupil-to-student ratio, No. 49 for median annual teacher salary and No. 48 in the website’s school systems ranking.

Arizona only ranked above North Carolina and West Virginia in an overall ranking of all categories.

In fact, out of all seven categories included in the report, Arizona’s highest ranking came at No. 41 for an average starting teacher salary.

Arizona also ranked No. 42 for job opportunity for teachers, No. 51 for academic and work environment and No. 45 in the 10-year change in teacher salaries.

Jill Gonzalez with WalletHub said there are about 23 students per teacher in Arizona public schools, which makes meeting the strict grade requirements difficult while tackling a large workload and making little pay.

“While that’s a lot of students, almost the largest in the country in terms of this ratio, at the same time teachers in Arizona are making one of the worst compensations,” she said. “The average starting salary is just around $31,000 a year; That’s in the bottom 10.”

Gonzalez said the income growth potential for teachers to be nearly impossible in Arizona, especially when the median annual teacher’s salary nationwide is $50,000 a year. In addition, the state only spends about $8,000 per student per year, when she said the average is closer to $12,000.

Ever since the national No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001, Gonzalez said teachers are held to very high standards with very little pay.

“Their compensation does not keep up with inflation at all and yet they’re supposed to be having these kids pump out amazing test scores year-after-year,” she said. “We found that’s just not happening.”

KTAR News’s Jeremy Foster also contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Dr. Elda Luna-Nájera to replace Leezah Sun's legislative seat...

Serena O'Sullivan

Elda Luna-Nájera will fill Leezah Sun’s vacant seat in Arizona House of Representatives

Elda Luna-Nájera will replace Leezah Sun as the representative of Arizona's Legislative District 22, which is in the West Valley.

3 hours ago

Mega Millions button lit up on a lottery ticket machine...

Kevin Stone

Mega Millions lottery tickets purchased in Scottsdale, Tucson win $50,000 each

Two Arizona Lottery players each won $50,000 in Friday’s Mega Millions drawing, officials announced Monday.

4 hours ago

Car crashes into power pole in Phoenix, 2 critically injured...

Serena O'Sullivan

2 men in critical condition after car crashes into power pole in Phoenix

Two men are in critical condition after a car crash involving a power pole in Phoenix on Monday, officials said.

5 hours ago

An image from Google Street View shows the third-party post office between a Jimmy John's and a Dun...

KTAR.com

Southeast Valley shopping center temporarily evacuated after bomb threat

Multiple businesses at a southeast Valley shopping center were temporarily evacuated Monday because of a bomb threat, authorities said.

6 hours ago

A DUI suspect drove down a 200-foot embankment in Cottonwood before a second DUI suspect was arrest...

KTAR.com

Arizona DUI suspect’s car careens down 200-foot embankment before 2nd DUI suspect arrested

A DUI suspect drove down a 200-foot embankment in Arizona on Saturday morning before another DUI suspect attempted to evade police at the crash area, authorities said.

7 hours ago

Split panel image of the front of an Albertsons grocery store on the left and a Kroger plastic bag ...

Kevin Stone

Arizona joins federal lawsuit to block merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertsons

Arizona is part of a federal lawsuit filed Monday to block the controversial merger of Kroger and Albertsons, two of the nation’s largest grocers.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Report: Arizona ranks among worst states in nation for public school education funding