As we start the 2018-2019 school year, TEA does so with more hope and promise than in many years. The #REDforED movement has changed all of those who were involved, as well as the trajectory for Arizona. Education is the number one issue state-wide, and we are primed to make improvements for public education, and the students we serve. As Arizonans, we have been longing for this opportunity, and our time is now.
Let’s start with the fact that through the collective action we all engaged in, TEA negotiated the largest raise in the history of TUSD! There was talk of excluding individuals, or not providing the salary increases that we desperately need, and yet TEA made certain to negotiate that the money was spent on the amazing educators who help move our district forward. When you add the $3800 raise teachers are receiving to the last two years of raises, it is a total of $6500 in salary raises! For our Classified colleagues, when you add their 4% raise to the last few raises, they have seen an average of a 10% increase. These are truly unprecedented increases, and are due to all of us working together. There continues to be a great deal of work to be done to address education funding, and we are the leaders that will continue to move this issue forward.
Which leads to the excitement of the 2018 elections. From the Governor’s race, to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Federal and state-level offices, and our own Governing Board, we have the opportunity to elect pro-public education candidates, creating an education-friendly government in Arizona for the first time in a long time. Add to the ballot the #INVESTinED initiative, and its $700 million annual dollars, and we have every reason to be optimistic. Just as we educate our students, we will educate the community this fall, making sure pro-education candidates and the #INVESTinED initiative will prevail.
TEA has also made improvements to both agreements through the bargaining process, providing additional growth opportunities for our Classified staff. Within the Consensus Agreement, we improved language regarding Exceptional Education students, decreased class sizes at the middle school level, increased extra duty pay, and provided protection for all employees who took part in the 2018 Walkout. Lastly, we improved discipline procedures for all TUSD staff, requiring administration to engage staff members to a greater depth prior to administering disciplinary action.
TEA has continued our growth, having increased our membership by 30% over the last three years. We have done so by engaging with our members, doing quality work, and sharing out with all TUSD staff the successes of TEA.
It is going to be an exciting school year. Please make sure that TEA has your personal email address, as we want to make sure you are well informed at all times. Thank you for your support and engagement in TEA, and have a wonderful start to the 2018-2019 school year.