The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses teachers’ “boat parade,” a protest for pay raises; the upcoming state budget; and what’s up with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.
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The Republic’s political team on April 25, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the protests surrounding the future of school vouchers and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s donation controversy.
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The Republic’s political team on April 18, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including 2018 candidates, Sen. Jeff Flake’s town hall and how a bill to require child-welfare officials to get warrants fell apart.
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The Republic’s political team on April 11, 2017, talks about “zombie” health care reform in Congress, and the expansion of the school voucher program headed by Gov. Doug Ducey.
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The Republic’s political team on April 4, 2017, talks about the state of the filibuster and the latest on Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s “Show Me the Money” campaign.
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The Republic’s political team on March 28, 2017, talks about funding for teacher raises in the state budget, what comes next after the non-vote on the ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill in Congress and proposed restrictions on citizen initiatives in Arizona.
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The Republic’s political team on March 21, 2017, talks about the possible impact on the president’s blueprint for a budget, and the lack of female representation in Arizona’s legislative leadership.
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The Republic’s political team on March 14, 2017, talks about how much of Arizona’s delegation has been quiet about the “Obamacare” replacement, but even Republicans don’t seem to like it.
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The Republic’s political team on March 8, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including a failed tax-cut bill, a congressman’s tweets and how a former state senator isn’t working at the White House after all.
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The Republic’s political team on March 1, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the state of Senate Bill 1142 and the rowdy crowds at U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s Town Hall.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 21, 2017, talks about recent political news, including Trump’s Arizona announcement about Intel, McCain and Obamacare, and House Bill 2404 targeting voter initiatives.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 6, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including how much debt is too much for the state and which lawmaker wants to be shot.
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The Gaggle: Teachers protesting, a budget afoot and what’s up with Stanton?
The Gaggle: Voucher vote, Arizona university funding
The Gaggle: DCS warrants and Flake gets scorched
The Gaggle: Health care in Congress and school voucher expansion
The Gaggle: Is the filibuster busted and will Michele Reagan show us the money?
The Gaggle: Teacher raises, ACA repeal and ballot initiatives
The Gaggle: Federal budget and few women in the Legislature
The Gaggle: Obamacare replacement, George W. in town and TANF benefits
The Gaggle: Tax that did not get cut, tweets from Gosar and a non-job
The Gaggle: SB 1142 is dead and town halls get rowdy
The Gaggle: Bigfooted, McCain and HB 2404
The Gaggle: How much debt is too much?
Arizona teachers are on track to get an extra 1 percent in their paychecks next year, but there’s a difference of opinions about whether it’s a permanent raise or a temporary bonus.
Gov. Doug Ducey proposed a 2 percent raise spread out over five years for teachers. The Legislature’s budget, which lawmakers continued to debate into the night Thursday, proposed a 2 percent increase over two years.
The increase is included in the budget in such a way that it doesn’t go into the base revenue the state allocates to districts each year, “thus making it temporary and not permanent,” said Arizona School Boards Association spokeswoman Heidi Vega.
But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, said it is a raise.
“It’s not a bonus,” she said. “It’s a teacher raise. It’s ongoing.”
Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato echoed that.
“This is a permanent, lasting teacher pay raise,” he said. “The funds are ongoing.”
The budget bill proposes to allocate $34 million for a “teacher salary increase” next year. It requires each school district or charter school to raise the salary of any teacher who taught at an Arizona public school this school year and who teaches at a public school next year by 1 percent next year.
It must come on top of any other salary increase that the school provides.
The money is not part of the automatic funding that schools get per student. The budget requires the state Department of Education to give the money separately to each school district or charter school.
The school governing board then must have a vote “regarding the allocation of moneys that it receives from this line item.”
Lesko said it was set up this way, as a separate line item from the rest of school funding, to ensure it funds teacher raises.
Scarpinato said putting the money into the baseline would provide “zero accountability that the money ever gets to the teachers.”
“You could kiss the raises goodbye,” he said.
But Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, called it shocking and insulting.
“You cannot guarantee that this will come in the future. This is a bonus that we’re giving the teachers,” he said. “We’re patting ourselves on the back that this is an education budget. We didn’t give teachers pay raises at all.”
The budget includes a clause stating that the “Legislature and governor … intend to include funding for an additional one percent teacher salary increase in fiscal year 2018-2019.”
But because of its setup, Ducey and the Legislature will have to approve that second 1 percent increase again next year and every year they want that 2 percent to continue.
Arizona Association of School Business Officials lobbyist Chuck Essigs said based on that, administrators will advise teachers that the raise isn’t a permanent guarantee.
“What happens in a year or two if the Legislature decides we aren’t going to fund this?” he asked. “I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t ever remember permanent changes in law being done this way.”
Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to this article.
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