Governor Doug Ducey announced Friday that a deal has been reached on a 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers.
"This pay raise has been overdue," said Gov. Ducey. "They have earned it. It's deserved. And now we'll work with the legislature through the weekend to introduce the budget on Monday and sign this into law as soon as they're done."
In a tweet, he outlined the terms of the deal:
-20% pay increase for teachers by 2020
-Permanent, ongoing, protected in the base formula
-$100,000,000 in additional dollars for support staff, increasing to $371,000,000 over 5 years
-No tax increase
Ducey appeared live on our newscasts Friday evening and spoke out about his announcement.
"What we're happy to be able to announce today is we do have a deal for a 20 percent pay increase by the year 2020," Ducey said to our Nicole Crites.
"It wasn't just about the teachers," Ducey said.. "it was about other individuals inside the schools. So what I think it's important to understand is that there will be $100 million there for support staff and the commitment of that rising to $371 million over the next five years."
Crites asked why it took a teacher strike to reach a deal.
"It didn't take a strike," Ducey replied. "We actually presented this on April 12. I do think the folks coming down to the state capitol, making their voices heard, it helped me with other people I needed to get a budget passed, and that's why we're going to be able to introduce it on Monday and pass it soon after."
Crites also asked where the money is going to come from.
"The money is coming from the growth inside the state," said Ducey. "Two hundred thousand people have moved here. A hundred and sixty thousand new private sector jobs in three years. We've also made efficiencies inside our state government. And I've taken some of my priorities we talked about in our State of the State and put them aside so that we can answer this issue, not only for this year but for the next three years."
Earlier on Friday afternoon, the governor sent an email outlining the deal:
"PHOENIX - Governor Doug Ducey, Senate President Steve Yarbrough and House Speaker J.D. Mesnard released the following joint statement today announcing a deal on a 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers.
"Earlier this month, we stood shoulder to shoulder, in unity with the education community, to announce a plan for a 20 percent increase in teacher pay by school year 2020. Today, we are pleased to announce that this plan is a reality. Arizona is delivering on its commitment to our students and teachers.
"We are also restoring recession-era cuts to increase funding for schools and putting more money into the classroom -- flexible dollars for superintendents to use for support staff pay increases, update antiquated curriculum and improve school infrastructure -- without raising taxes. This plan benefits our children's education across the state, and we are working through the weekend to introduce a budget early next week and pass it shortly thereafter."
The Arizona Education Association and Arizona Educators United released this statement in response:
"We have a press release and a tweet from the governor. We have no bill. We have no deal. The devil is in the details.
We know that we have been down this road before. He makes promises that he can't keep. We just can't trust him.
But here's what we know. Over 100,000 people marched on the Capitol over the past two days. We stood in the heat for hours and hours. We marched and we rallied. We honored our students by speaking truth to power.
When the governor and his friends at the Capitol had a chance to meet with us they left town.
They ran from red. When education advocates came together to fix the problem lawmakers refused to address, suddenly we get an announcement of a plan without any details.
Educators cannot wait any longer for the governor to fix this."
For the past two days, thousands of teacher and supporters have been rallying in downtown Phoenix for better pay and more school funding.
Arizona House Speaker JD Mesnard had said that the Arizona congress would be working through the weekend to make Ducey's teacher pay plan a reality and to meet the teachers' demands.
"We're hard at work right now, we will be today and through the weekend, whatever it takes so that we can get to a resolution on the budget and make 20 percent by 2020 a reality," Mesnard told Arizona's Family Friday morning.
Mesnard said both the Arizona House and Senate are working to make a complete budget for the entire state.
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