Arizona senators respond to Ducey’s plan to increase teacher salary

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Arizona senators respond to Governor Doug Ducey’s plan to increase teacher salary 10 percent this year and five percent next year and the year after.

Ducey was critical of the teacher protests at first, calling it “political theater” just days before announcing his plan. Democrats have been more vocal in their support for a teacher pay increase, so the governor’s announcement was originally widely accepted and praised until people started to ask where the money would come from.

“The devil is in the details, and we are certainly seeing those details now,” Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs says. “To be quite honest, I think the biggest problem with this plan is we don’t know where the revenue is coming from and it’s certainly not sustainable.”

Rep. Randall Friese, D-Tucson, says it shouldn’t be just about increase teacher pay, but increasing educational funding for K-12 education across the board. He says without a feasible and sustainable plan, there’s no promise of anything getting done.

Ducey says that the funds will come from the growing economy and the increased amount of revenue. However, while that may work for one year, there’s no promise or security that it will be enough for he following years. Friese says that a week ago Ducey was saying there was no money for a salary increase, and now he has $1.2 billion to put toward salaries during the next few years. Friese isn’t the only one scratching his head on how the governor found that money.

“I don’t think Democrats are the only ones who have concerns about where this is coming from,” Hobbs says. “I think we have a long way to go before we see a final budget plan and have to make a decision on how we’re going to vote.”

Hobbs says she would support the teachers if they still decide to strike because of the lack of a sustainable funding plan. Friese agrees, saying the teachers shouldn’t be judged for striking on a promise which is all Ducey’s announcement is.

Sen. Katie Hobbs: (D) Senate Minority Leader
Rep. Randall Friese: (D) Tucson

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