As you have no doubt by now heard, teachers in our district are being offered a $1500 (1 step plus $1,000) raise across the board with no distinction between category A or B teachers. Ed support professionals are being offered a onetime stipend of $350. First, I would like to reassure you that your math is not off – unfortunately, this is not a 5% raise the governor’s office advertised in 2017. This agreement reflects a value we took into bargain to take a step towards fairness, as A & B teachers will be receiving the same increases, and classified making the least will receive the same as administrators making the most. What this agreement does not reflect, is the true value and worth of our classified staff or teachers – all educators deserve much more for the work we do. There are several factors involved but the ones I would like you to hone in on are these: the funds were spread across the rank & file within our district because we negotiated a fair and equitable raise that shows that our bargaining unit did the best it could to honor every single one of its members. The other piece is that had Governor Ducey met with our statewide leadership he would have realized the urgency and need to ensure that ALL employees across the state would see their paychecks increase. Nor did was he forthright when he said it would be a 20% raise; he omitted the fact that the funding that he has provided has been based on our 2017 wages & salaries.
Where do we go from here? TEA volunteers are in the process of continuing to educate the public and our membership that our state is still lagging behind in per pupil funding and continues to provide tax cuts to corporations that have a detrimental effect on tax dollars for public education. Our teachers & Ed Support professionals deserve a competitive wage and every student & teacher deserves the resources, security and consistency of a well maintained environment. In the meantime, please be on the lookout for a ratification email upon your return to school so that we are all counted in the consensus decision making process. Our previous contract & wages will remain in effect until consensus is determined by your ballot.
Webpage? You may be wondering why our webpage has not been updated. We are in the process of a whole new look to help make it easier to contact your reps across the district and post information about meetings, volunteering, professional development and statewide policies that impact public education. We ask that you remain patient while we undergo this process but if you know of a member who is not receiving this newsletter, please share with them for now as we are hoping to have everything up and running by August.
Speaking of volunteering: We need help at the office next week to prepare for new Teacher Induction stuffing information packets on Tuesday & Wednesday July 16th & 17th, from 9-1PM.
Also, we look forward to seeing you at the New Teacher Induction July 23rd. If you have not already responded to the email RSVP, please do so at your earliest convenience as there will be lots of new teachers hoping to meet a friendly face at their sites who can give them what’s what & who’s who of traditions & expectations on your campus.
Hope to see you then, until then – keep cool and stay WOKE!
Margaret Chaney TEA President