Goldwater Institute Report Finds Teachers Extra Pay

The latest report by the Goldwater Institute on Arizona school spending shows raising teacher pay does not require states to spend more on education. The trick is to end “wasteful and poor spending practices, which the report notes are a major roadblock to higher teacher salaries.

In his second in a series of three reports on school financing,  Arizona School Districts Can Eliminate Wasteful Spending to Increase Teacher Pay, Jonathan Butcher, Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher examines spending practices in a range of Arizona school districts.

Butcher found in an examination of district performance audits, that that teacher pay in many districts could be increased without expanding education budgets at taxpayer expense.

“Across Arizona, it’s clear that many districts have the money to raise teacher salaries—if only they would get their financial houses in order,” said Butcher. “Vacant school buildings, too much spending on administrative purposes, transportation, and food service, and opaque desegregation budget practices have helped to perpetuate a system that wastes money that could be used in the classroom or fund a boost in teacher pay.”

Butcher offers an example of wasteful spending the Scottsdale Unified School District. Butcher argues that the District’s teachers could see $3,000 raises if the district made better use of vacant buildings. In the case of Piñon Unified, teachers could see $15,800 raises if the District addressed administrative and transportation issues.

“While recent protests have pointed to education budgets as the hurdle to higher teacher pay, this paper shows that cleaning up bad spending practices could raise teacher salaries by thousands of dollars,” Butcher said. “School districts ought to take steps to eliminate waste in their budgets rather than increase the burden on taxpayers.”

Read the full report here.


  1. School Boards are complicate in this as well. I attended on board meeting where the whole 5 hour public meeting entertained complaints of deserving educators, back tracking of support for raises for support staff after months of protesting for only educator pay increases, diatribes from speakers and no real conversation of solid solutions that could have including a commitment to review, audit or provide real public disclosure of budgets and spending. Outside of the meeting, administration staff was trying to speak to a number of board members about having funds in the budgets to fund the raises internally right after the walk out. That employee was dismissed twice, one board member too busy to entertain the information, the other more worried about getting at another board member because of their dislike of the other.

    I agree with CrazyInArizona that we do not have good stewards for our resources. As taxpayers and citizens need to become vocal on the fact that the focus on more money over better student outcomes affect Arizona’s ability to grow a healthy economy and opportunity for the students as they grow into adulthood. A citizen think tanks are need to develop it’s own leadership to voice concerns to boards, as well to understand how spending in their districts and press admins and boards into accountable action and stewardship to their positions.

  2. Until they stop attacking the homeowner via property taxes to fund education, I will NEVER vote yes on ANY education bill no matter how pretty the language. And Goldwater Institute is absolutely spot on about this. If school admins were more responsible and diligent about how our money is spent, teachers could have competitive salaries and quit having to pay out-of-pocket for basic needs for their classrooms.
    Of course, you can’t expect functionaries and bureaucrats to be good stewards of our resources. That would be an oxyMORON. After all, the more you can gouge a taxpayer, the more likely you are to keep your ivory tower post, yes?

  3. Here is something that works at times, and is worth keeping in mind regarding these propositions. They all require a set # of signatures in order to even get on the ballot. So, refuse to sign these petitions. As I say, this works at times, and is worth a try.

  4. Isn’t just easier to hit the taxpayers with more increases and then urinate those funds away on something else? Really….don’t we need more propositions….? They’re easy to write AND don’t have to make any sort of sense. And stupid taxpayers can be expected to vote for them. After all, we now have thousands of illegals needing a tax-free (for them) education… let’s get with it.

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