Ducey Proposes 20% Raise For Teachers By 2020; Arizonans Voice Opinions On #Redfored

Victoria Samudio Rodriguez, a teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in the Isaac School District in Phoenix, said she was marching for respect. “We’re all here because of a teacher, every profession starts with a teacher…but yet we are not treated as professionals.” (Photo by Melina Zúñiga/Cronkite News) By Nicole Gimpl and Victoria Bartelt | Cronkite News

By Nicole Gimpl and Victoria Bartelt 

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday a plan to increase teacher salaries 20 percent by 2020. This fiscal year, teachers would receive a 9 percent raise followed by a 5 percent raise next year and another 5 percent by the beginning of 2020. The 20 percent raise factors in last year’s 1 percent raise for teachers.

“Arizona teachers are the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona’s children, and we need to reward them for their hard work,” Ducey said in a statement. “We will never stop our commitment to improving Arizona’s public education system because when it comes to our kids, we must never stop working for them.”

Ducey’s announcement comes after weeks of pressure from the Red For Ed movement, a nationwide effort by teachers and education advocates to increase classroom funding and teacher salaries. Arizona teachers are demanding 20-percent pay raises to address the state’s education crisis and have threatened to strike if state leaders do not respond with urgency.

Leading the state’s Red For Ed movement is the grassroots group Arizona Educators United, whose officials say a decision on a strike will come soon.

Before Ducey’s proposal, Cronkite News asked Arizona residents in our Public Insight Network for their thoughts about the demands of the Red for Ed movement, the governor’s earlier response and other questions about the educator protests.

More than 80 people responded by email. Some do not support a teacher strike; others support teacher’s demand for more education funding and a 20 percent raise. One respondent said unhappy teachers should simply quit. Their responses have been edited for length and clarity.

If the Legislature rejects substantial increases in teacher pay and other funding, would you support a teacher strike? Why or why not?

“Absolutely not. Teachers are paid according to their collective bargaining agreements with the school districts. If they are not happy with it, they have the same choice as everybody else. Find another career.”
– Philip Moore, works at Cox Automotive, Tucson

“I teach with many teachers that are single and struggling to put food on the table for their children. A teacher should not have to make compromises for their own children in order to teach the children of others. I am fortunate that I have a husband that makes a decent salary in order for me to keep teaching.”
– Trish Patchin, elementary teacher, Tucson

“No, teachers are employees just like any other business. If they don’t like the terms and pay of their employment, they should quit. Higher pay should attract the best teachers. So, if the money isn’t enough, the good teachers will leave. A shortage of teachers will automatically result in a higher salaries.”
– Susan Wood, real estate management, Scottsdale

Do you think a 20-percent raise for teachers is achievable? If so, what would you suggest the state do to achieve that? Would you support raising taxes or cutting other programs?

“Yes, a 20-percent raise for teachers is achievable. Stop funding private prisons, establish taxes on guns, bullets, alcohol, and restore other taxes that have been abolished by the GOP. Education is an investment and needs to be viewed as such. AZ needs to be competitive to recruit the talent that already left the state.”
– Kathy Beebe, retired educator, Tempe

“A 20 percent raise is neither reasonable nor possible. The fact that they would propose such a raise when they already make more than the median salary for the average Arizona worker simply demonstrates how out of touch with reality they really are.”
– Philip Moore, works at Cox Automotive, Tucson

“While I absolutely support a 20-percent raise for teachers, I do not think it is realistic politically. To get anywhere close to a 20-percent raise, we would need to do three things. First, accept that this would need to be stepped out over two or three years. Second, selected taxes would need to be increased (and it is critical that the taxes be equitable across the socioeconomic spectrum). Third, selected programs would need to be cut or eliminated (we need to be serious about reassessing all government programs and be willing to eliminate those that don’t work or that we no longer need).”
– David Plummer, Phoenix

Ducey has directed more money toward school districts, some of which is supposed to go to teacher pay. Have teachers in your district benefited from these extra funds? If so, how?

“Yes and no. In my district, a good portion of the money has been used to hire additional teachers to lower class sizes. The teachers are mostly on board, because we still proceed on the bromide of self-sacrifice and doing what’s best for the education of the student. I liken the situation to a deadbeat dad that pays $100 of back child support totaling $10,000. Then blames the mother for the fact that she didn’t put it toward new clothes. She spent it on beans and rice to assure her kids would be fed.”
– Mike Bradley, teacher, Pima

“Ducey has authorized a 1-percent increase in teacher salaries. One percent doesn’t even cover “cost-of-living” increases. My district is a small, rural district in southern AZ. Our Board and Superintendent/ Principal have always been supportive of teachers and students. But you can only stretch the budget so far. It’s time for the AZ Legislature to “wake up and smell the coffee”!!”
– Cynthia Colbert, Teacher, Nogales

“The teachers in our district have benefited from the money directed toward the teacher pay, but our net pay is still less than what we were seeing a year ago. Due to increase in taxes, insurance premiums, and other miscellaneous items, I saw a decrease in my net pay. The small percentage of raises that Ducey has earmarked for teachers’ salaries does not cover the increase in living.”
– Trish Patchin, Elementary teacher, Tucson

Ducey says his administration has made great strides restoring education funds that were slashed in response to the Great Recession a decade ago. In your schools, have you noticed any results of this extra money?

“As someone who both went to high school in Arizona during Ducey’s tenure as governor and someone who works in the school systems I have seen a decrease in education funding and an exponential decrease in such a short time of programs, services and other activities.”
– Tyler Lyons, high school debate coach, Mesa

“Ducey is a day late and a dollar short. There needs to be significant management changes, real accountability, and teachers that perform. They get the raises. Then we will get the good teachers back first. And for God’s sake, do something about all the incompetent school administrators!”
– Steven Isham, retired educator, Avondale

“Those that caused the Great Recession a decade ago and Ducey stem from the same frame of mind. I feel sorry for Ducey’s soul. Money, power, status define Ducey’s God. Ducey justifies by action or in-action – what he believes the value of education is and those who bring it to our children. It all has little importance to him. I can strike until demands are met with a clear conscience.”
– Robin Maynes, teacher, Glendale

Some critics of the Red for Ed movement say it’s overblown. Do you think the teachers’ response to their pay has been appropriate? Why or why not?

“I wish we had had the courage to strike years ago. A little known fact about public education in Arizona is that districts have to have 50 percent or more teachers in favor of a union to actually have a union. A lot of the smaller rural districts don’t have unions and the administrators in these districts have the potential to act either as benevolent dictators or ruthless despots. I’ve worked with ruthless despots who (illegally) used teacher evaluations to punish teachers who were not “in line.” I’ve even been on the receiving end of administrative wrath and let me tell you … without union support, there isn’t much anyone can do about administrative abuse short of spending $200 an hour for an attorney.”
– David Chin, chef instructor, Bullhead City

“I don’t think it has been overblown. I think teachers have “been there” for their students for many years. I do not believe they went into the profession thinking they would get rich. But now they cannot pay their own bills with a single job. Enough is enough.”
– Shelly Truxal, medical, Queen Creek

“The the teachers’ response to their pay is long overdue! I work at my teaching job up to 16 hours each day. I miss my 6 children. I’ve missed so much of their lives. Both Masters degrees from 30 years ago have served me well while teaching. But I have little to show other than I’ll have to work until I’m dead to keep food on the table and pay for my kids’ college. It’s all so horrible.”
– Robin Maynes, teacher, Glendale


  1. There needs to be significant management changes, real accountability, and teachers that perform. They get the raises. Then we will get the good teachers back first. And for God’s sake, do something about all the incompetent school administrators!”
    – Steven Isham, retired educator, Avondale
    And there it is kids, in black and white. Its not about teachers salaries, its about getting rid of the bad ones including administrators and rewarding those that do an outstanding job. As I have posted before nowhere in this redfored crap have I heard the word excellence. Excellence in teaching, excellence in leading a district or excellence demanded of the students. Its about give me, give me, woe is me, I can’t survive, etc. Education has become a cesspool and a dumping ground for those that can’t. There are many issues facing public education and a huge raise for the teachers without any accountability isn’t going to help anyone. Yea, more money automatically and magically equates to a better quality education and HS graduates that can read and write and carry on an intelligent conversation? Right? Thought not. BTW kids, I am a long time retired teacher and call BS on this whole “redfored” crap. If the grassroots wants to make changes to benefit the student, they would start at the local district and not with their billfold.

  2. ***** It should always be noted that any article that starts outs with “Cronkite News” is not news, it’s a propaganda hit piece disguised as news.*****

    While reality has escaped Gov. Douchey, school board and school districts alone control teacher salaries.
    What’s next? Is the state gonna step in and give bagel bakers a raise or will bakeries control what bakers make?
    In a misguided public campaign of compassion for teacher pay, we already raided and gutted the state land trust to bolster teacher salaries but apparently somehow those public funds never made it out of the districts bank accounts to the intended targets, the teachers.
    School districts, not the state control teacher pay. Let’s hold them accountable before we hold the state hostage for things the state doesn’t control.

    The Oracle

  3. I do like this quote from Ms. Patchin “The teachers in our district have benefited from the money directed toward the teacher pay, but our net pay is still less than what we were seeing a year ago. Due to increase in taxes, insurance premiums, and other miscellaneous items, I saw a decrease in my net pay.” Welcome to reality in a democratic controlled city and county.

  4. That Kathy Beebe from Berkeley-on-the-Salt is onto something. But let’s fund it instead with increased taxes on arugula, quinoa, Priuses, and those black plastic eyeglasses. Also baby-killing clinics, universities, subscriptions to the NY Times, and Chinese child labor factories.

    Great idea! I like it!

  5. No, 20% is not achievable. Most people are lucky to get a paltry 2% raise. And the ridiculous amount of money being spent on administrators/administration needs investigated.

  6. Sorry but it is still a part time job 8 months a year with full time benefits. It appears that many actually only do it for the money.

    The fourth graders still can’t read. But mommies going to rehab, and I said no, no ,no.

    • Teaching is not a part time job. Summers off is what you’re thinking, well most teachers I know do some sort of work in the summer, some teach Sumer school, camps, other jobs. ALL teachers spend most of their summer and their school year breaks prepping for the school year to come or to correct papers, etc. most all teachers I know and have known work 8+hours daily (6hours in a classroom) and at least 2-3 hours before and after school. Plus weekends and school vacations. Tell me that;s part time!

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