Teacher Pay Plan Update

Governor Ducey unveiled his teacher pay plan last Thursday, and since that time a number of issues have become more clear. First, the definition of who would get the raise. The amount calculated is based on awarding a pay increase to the same class of teachers who got the 1% raise last year, and were slated for the second 1% this year. Last week, the Governor made clear that he wanted every teacher in this category to receive a raise on his or her base salary for FY19.

ASBA, AASBO and ASA are consulting with the governor to ensure that his plan is implementable by school districts.

The structure of the plan includes placing last year’s 1% stipend in the base, and increasing another 9% for FY19, followed by a 5% increase in FY20, and a 5% increase in 2021.. In FY2022 and beyond, schools would continue to receive funding in the base level and via the classroom site fund. At that time, the money is not restricted to increasing salaries, so as teachers change positions, retire, etc. the district would have authority to manage its needs accordingly with the increased funding.

He also committed to funding district additional assistance at $100M, and the standard inflation adjustment on top of those numbers. There has been a lot of talk out there about funding sources, and other unfunded budget priorities. Budget negotiations with the Legislature are ongoing, and exactly what is in and what is out is still under discussion. ASBA has secured the commitment of the governor’s office that no changes in eligibility for Medicaid/AHCCCS will be used to fund this plan. ASBA would not support such a funding source.

Questions of revenue availability also exist. This week the Legislature released a memo from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee asserting the governor’s plan would create large budget shortfalls in the out years. The governor’s office produced its own economic analysis that refutes those claims. These dueling analyses seem to demonstrate the state does not actually have enough revenue to support all the priorities the public deems a priority long-term. This may lead to a discussion about future revenue sources for K-12, which has been a core plank of ASBA’s political agenda. We would welcome such a discussion.

On Monday, ASBA president Linda Lyon issued a letter to ASBA membership outlining the association’s position. You can view that letter here.

ASBA is committed to developing a long-term solution to both teacher and staff pay, and sustainable revenue for both K-12 and higher education. These priorities have not changed because the association chose to engage with the governor’s office on his pay plan. The recent vote by teachers to set a walkout date may alter the budget calculus throughout the capitol. We will not know this until Monday. The crafting of solutions to large problems is sometimes an unpleasant process, but the end goal remains the same. ASBA will not abandon its core values, and the ASBA GR team continues to work with the leadership of both caucuses to explain our position and find common ground.

Employee Work Stoppage Resources

As you may know, 57,000 school employees voted this week and 78% of them voted in favor of a walk out. The walk out will begin on Thursday, 4/26. While we regret any work stoppage, ASBA loves our teachers and respects their right to have their voices heard on this important issue. We would like to help our members manage this situation as smoothly as possible. To that end, we have a dedicated webpage with a list of resources, sample letters to parents, and other tools for ASBA members. You can access that information here.

Today’s Floor Action

HB 2089 interscholastic activities; health dangers; information (Carter) was caught in the crossfires of our current political environment and vetoed by Governor Ducey.

He vetoed 2089 along with 9 other unrelated bills with this message: “Please send me a budget that gives teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 and restores additional assistance. Our teachers have earned this raise. It’s time to get it done.”