TUCSON, Ariz.(KGUN) — On Tuesday, the Tucson Unified School District had a big agenda and one of the hot topics was pay raises for teachers. One school security worker spoke up and said that some of the students she’s protecting make more than she does as an adult.
"$13 dollars an hour Mcdonald’s pay $15 some students make more money than I do,” The worker said.
The board voted unanimously to give the raises that the Tucson Teachers' Association has been asking for to keep teachers, counselors assistants security and other workers in the district. TEA President Margaret Chaney says they had been in negotiations with the district for about 3 months.
“Our bargaining team worked very hard for these raises, it’s a historic raise. Of course, there is always room for more," Chaney said
It's the biggest pay raise for educators in district history, teachers will basically get a 2,500 dollar raise and with bonuses it can go up to more than 8,900 plus Prop 301 money and 5th grade teacher Nate Ratey agrees.
"The salary of a teacher is not enough and the salary of our bus drivers and health aides and those paid by the hour is not enough,” Ratey said.
While some were in favor of the raise, others don’t think it’s the only solution. Parent Philip Harvey says there are issues with the district that go beyond money.
"School choice is important. If we give them more money, they are going to keep asking for more money and nothing is going to change. They will continue to be at the bottom of the totem pole in the quality of education until we start changing things,” Harvey said.
The TEA union says the pay increase can affect up to 5,000 workers and will start to hit paychecks in July.
"If you work for TUSD we want you to stay here" Said TUSD board member Adelita Grijalva.
In addition, the district is also giving pay raises to other essential staff ranging from cents to dollars per hour. Marciela Meza gave the update.
“What we did is look at essential TUSD positions that had high vacancy rates. We did a scrape meaning we looked at salaries in a lot of other places and other districts in the area,” Meza said.
There are nearly 1,800 open positions at all levels at the district.
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