Sentinel: Teachers plan to walk out

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Tucson Sentinel reported that Arizona teachers plan to walk out of their classrooms April 26 to protest low salaries and nearly $1 billion cut from K-12 funding in the wake of the Great Recession that hasn’t yet been replaced.

As state policy makers weigh their options in response to the “Red for Ed” movement that is organizing the teacher protests, some conservatives and their allies have pointed to bloated administration costs as a reason teachers in Arizona have among the worst pay in the nation.

But an Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of school district spending data compiled by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office shows no correlation between how much a school district spends on administration and how it pays its teachers.

The Auditor General’s Office in March released its annual report on school district spending in 2017. It found that, statewide, Arizona school districts in 2017 spent 10.4 percent of operating funds on administration, including superintendents, principals, business managers and other clerical staff. Most districts spent between 10 and 16 percent; the national average is 11.2 percent.

Most Arizona school districts reported an average teacher salary of $42,300 to $50,000. The median pay is $42,474 for Arizona elementary teachers and $46,070 for high school teachers, when adjusted for costs of living, according to a 2017 Morrison Institute for Public Policy report. A 20-percent pay raise would bump those medians to $50,969 and $55,284, respectively.

Nationally, median elementary school teacher pay is $55,800 and median high school teacher pay is $58,030, adjusted for costs of living.

READ: No link between teacher pay, district admin costs