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TUSD teachers: Supt. confirms inflated avg. salary amount

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 21:59:12-04

An update on our investigation into the average teacher pay in Tucson's largest district. The superintendent finally confirms a huge one-time payout of Prop 301 monies that boosted the average salary.

A tweet by the Governor's office in late April had TUSD teachers shaking their heads. It showed the average teacher salary is about 50-thousand dollars and the governor's new plan would boost it to 60-thousand by the year 2020. But teachers told us the first number of about $50,000 is wrong so they'll never get to projected amount of $60,000.
And the superintendent now confirms that.
Teachers stood side by side fighting for bigger paychecks throughout the statewide walkout. Among them, 2nd year teacher, Jaylyn Wheatley, whose salary ranges in the upper 30s. "I only know a handful of teachers make $50,000 and they've literally been teaching longer than I've been alive," she said.

To back up her claims, highly qualified certified veteran teachers provided us with their contracts and W2's showing their salaries hover around the low 50's. And the Auditor General's 2017 report confirmed a huge jump in the Prop 301 payout -- nearly double the previous year's amount.

We reported that three weeks ago -- the superintendent never responding to our requests for confirmation or clarification. He was silent on the issue, at least publicly, until Tuesday's media briefing.  "Teachers were given really out of the ordinary large distributions to try to draw down a 21-million dollar balance that had accumulated. So you had teachers receiving 6 to 7 thousand dollar distributions that really blew the salaries up," said Trujillo.

As a result, he said the 50,000 dollar calculation showed up in the Auditor General's report -- the amount tweeted out by the Governor's office.

The Governor's Office told KGUN9 weeks ago that it's standing by the Auditor General's amount and didn't change TUSD's average teacher pay calculations.

We are following up on that as well as asking the district to provide the average teacher's salary without the on-time payout.