TUCSON (KVOA) — A statewide educational rally in Arizona is scheduled for Tuesday. Some teachers aim to tell state lawmakers that our schools across Arizona need more dollars and more attention.
“Teachers are leaving Arizona in droves,” said Margaret Chaney, president of the Tucson Education Association. “New teachers are leaving.”
Chaney said Arizona was near the bottom when it comes to teacher pay.
“We’re 49th in the United States in teacher salaries,” she said. “For many years people have said it’s because Arizona is so much cheaper and the cost of living is better and so on. That’s not true anymore. The housing market is crazy .”
Arizona has a surplus of over $5 billion. Some public school teachers say that for our children and our teachers to thrive, some of that money needs to go to strengthening our schools.
“We want more money to go into vocational and technical education, into the teachers’ academy, because now we have a lot of people who don’t have the training to teach,” Chaney said.
“I want to see at least $1 billion go to K-12,” said State Representative Morgan Abraham, a Democrat from Tucson.
A group of rally attendees expect to descend on the state capitol building in Phoenix around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Abraham believes there is bipartisan support in both chambers where Republicans hold slim one-seat majorities to secure a meaningful education agenda.
“I hear a lot of people on Capitol Hill talking about being competitive,” he said. “Being competitive on taxes and the business climate, but we’re not competitive on our education. And, to be competitive, we need to increase funding to reduce class sizes and address teacher shortages.”
Abraham knows he and his colleagues could spend much of the next month crafting the state budget. He argues that the focus should be on education.
“We need to invest in the future so that the next generation of Arizonans deserves the same opportunity as me,” Abraham said. “And that means putting money into the classroom.”
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