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Good news for our students

Governor Ducey announcing teacher pay and education funding plan (Photo: Governor's Twitter)

Now is the Time to Raise Teacher Pay and Restore Funding

It’s no secret – we’ve been facing an education funding crisis for more than a decade, and the #RedForEd movement has made that very visible.

Last week, Governor Doug Ducey announced a plan to give our teachers a pay raise and also to start restoring funding to our classrooms. The proposal would raise teacher pay by 20 percent by 2020 – with teachers getting a 10 percent pay raise right away.

The governor's plan also includes $371 million to restore funds for schools that were cut over the last ten years. We commend the governor for listening to our teachers and proposing this plan to move our state forward. You can watch the full press conference here.

Big Step Forward for Struggling Readers

For us it’s simple: every single student must be able to read by the end of third grade. Yet 56% of third-graders cannot read proficiently in Arizona. While we’ve seen some improvement in the last couple of years, we can do better.

That’s why we’re excited to let you know that a bill (HB2520) to strengthen existing reading policies passed unanimously out of the Senate and is headed to the House for a final vote.

Making Our Schools Safer

With all of the recent events in the news, this has been top-of-mind, and rightfully so. Ensuring our students are safe is a priority, and we must do everything we can to accomplish this. Governor Doug Ducey released his plan last week to provide funding for enacting preventative measures. This is a step in the right direction, and we appreciate the governor's action.

We’ll continue to monitor SB 1519, and we’ll keep you posted.

Where is the ELL bIll?

HB 2435 is waiting to move to the floor for a vote in the Senate.This legislative session, lawmakers can help 83,000 English Language Learner (ELL) students by passing our bill. As a result of its passage, students can learn English faster and local school districts and charter schools can have greater flexibility, in contrast with our state’s current top-down approach.

HB 2435 is a monumental step forward for ELL students, and we're truly on the brink of changing the lives of 83,000 students for the better. We urge lawmakers to move our state forward and support HB 2435.

Quotes from the Capitol

“Arizona teachers are the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona’s children, and we need to reward them for their hard work — this plan does that through a 20 percent pay increase by school year 2020.”
- Gov. Doug Ducey

“It’s good news. I”m very pleased to see the governor’s commitment to education, and hopefully, his budget proposal gets through the legislature and is adopted. ”
- Dr. Paul Tighe, Superintendent of Saddle Mountain Unified School District in Tonopah

Legislative session comes to an end

Governor Ducey signs teacher pay and education funding plan (Photo: Governor's Twitter)

What does the budget mean for our teachers and students?

First of all, we commend Governor Ducey and the legislature for working to pass a budget giving our teachers a much-deserved pay raise and restoring recession-era funding cuts. This budget moves us in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done to ensure that every Arizona student gets the best education possible. The 20% pay raise has built-in stability because it’s included in the base funding so it’s permanent and ongoing, and it will keep up with rising inflation.

Here’s how the 20% pay raise will be distributed:

  • 1% from FY18
  • 9% in FY19
  • 5% in FY20
  • 5% in FY21

In addition to teacher pay raises, this budget also includes over $100 million for school employee raises. Again, these raises have some protection because they are built into the base funding — so it will be permanent and ongoing. Other education funding budget items include:

  • $371 million to restore recession-era funding cuts
  • $88 million for construction of new schools
  • $53 million in building renewal
  • $1.8 million to fully fund career and technical education (JTEDs)
  • $2 million for Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind to enhance early childhood intervention
  • Increases school safety funding: $3 million state & $7 million federal match for school behavioral specialists
  • $1 million for gifted education
Make no mistake: the fight for education funding is not over. Yes, today our students and teachers scored a major victory, but we need to take this moment a step further and work to elect candidates who will stand up for our students and support a fully funded public education system

Where is the ELL bIll?

First of all, we couldn't have gotten here without fierce advocates like you. In fact, this uphill ELL battle would have never started in the first place if we hadn’t heard from a local community member three years ago.

We are also grateful for the support of Representative Paul Boyer, who understood how important this bill was. Mr. Boyer is a true Education Champion.

Unfortunately, this year, the bill did not did not get through the process before the legislative session ended. We came up a bit short, but we won’t lose heart. Next year, we will fight to help the 83,000 students who are failing behind. Again, this underscores why we need to elect education champions who will put students first, regardless of political party.

Big win for struggling readers

We’re excited to let you know that HB2520, a bill to strengthen existing reading policies, is sitting on the governor's desk ready for him to sign. This bill matters because, in Arizona, 56% of third-graders cannot read proficiently. While we’ve seen some improvement in the last couple of years, we can do better.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s In The Trenches. This has been a big week when it comes to moving the needle for our students and schools. We’ll keep you updated on the upcoming budget negotiations and continue to advocate for our ELL bill. Please, if you have any questions, let us know. .

Warmly, Rebecca, Stacey, Luis, Martin, Melissa, Liliana and Mia
The Stand for Children Arizona Team

In order to fulfill our mission, Stand for Children, Inc., our 501(c)4 organization, performs all advocacy and lobbying activities while the Stand for Children Leadership Center, our 501(c)3 organization, manages our parent and family education and engagement programs as well as Stand’s public awareness campaigns.
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We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s In The Trenches. This has been the final week of the 2018 Legislative session. Although lawmakers will return to their districts, the work to improve outcomes for all students isn’t over. In the coming weeks, we’ll keep you updated on the heart of our work — our parent engagement program and upcoming elections. Until then, if you have any questions, let us know. 
Rebecca, Stacey, Luis, Martin, Liliana, and Mia The Stand for Children Arizona Team