TUSCON, Ariz. — Reaction tonight on the three-percent teacher pay raise in Tucson Unified School District from the Tucson Education Association. The president, Margaret Chaney, told KGUN9 that this is not the increase they were hoping for, but it's something.
The teacher raises come after the approval of Governor Doug Ducey's 20x2020 plan. With that plan, teachers were expecting five-percent raises for this upcoming school year. But because TUSD's money was spread to other areas, this is why Tucson Unified teachers aren't seeing that entire five-percent hike.
"Depends upon where you are on the salary range, but for the most part we are looking a three-percent. And as you go further up the salary scale, then its less," said Chaney.
For first-time teachers hired this upcoming school year, the TUSD board approved a salary of $40,200, that's a 23-percent increase from four years ago. Other teachers received raises as well but Chaney, said, this year's raises fell short.
"Its not what we wanted in terms of the ideal salary. The ideal salary would have been 20-percent back in 2017, that's what the whole thing was about. But that's not what we got, so we're working with what we were given. Any step up, is a step in the right direction," said Cheney.
Cheney said having more boots on the ground this past election season influenced the increase TUSD teachers did receive. Saying, the red for ed movement was a tremendous push in their favor.
"Red For Ed absolutely made a huge increase. The governor was only scheduled to give us one-percent and it suddenly jumped to 20-percent by 2020. So I think, yeah, there was a huge shift in his paradigm, as well as really a lot of educators across the state because we had never seen a movement that big before," said Cheney.
And aside from increasing teacher wages, Cheney hopes decision makers will soon increase wages to all others who work within the school system.
"We'll just keep fighting for it, you know? It's not over until its over. So we will continue to wear red on Wednesdays, we will continue to advance the cause," said Cheney.
TUSD teachers report to work July 29 and classes begin Aug. 1.