Governor's office defends record on education


The governor’s office is defending its record on education.

This comes as a new report by the Arizona school personnel administrators association shows 13,000 teaching positions are still open.

Even more distressing, the report said 500 teachers resigned or stopped showing up to work during the the first month of the current school year. 

[RELATED: Arizona school districts confused over Ducey’s pay plan]

Despite the numbers, Gov. Doug Ducey’s chief of staff said the state of Arizona education is improving. 

“This has been decades leading up to this. It’s going to take a lot of work. These, I think, have been some good steps but we have to continue driving up teacher pay,” said Daniel Scarpinato, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. 

[RELATED: Ducey’s budget plan puts new cash into schools]

Scarpinato points out that the governor convinced voters to approve Proposition 123 last year that adds $3.5 billion to K-12 schools over 10 years. 

This year, the governor approved more money for a 1 percent teacher pay raise that did not go over well with many educators as they remain among the lowest paid in the country. 

Erin Hart, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona, said the governor needs to step up for schools. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

“We’ve certainly seen some progress, but we still have a long way to go. I think most educators would agree to that, and I think the governor would agree to that, that there’s still a lot of work to be done,” she said. 

Hart points out that even with the recent pay raise, Arizona ranks last in the country in paying elementary school teachers.

“It’s not good enough. We know we need to do better as a state,” she said.

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