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New Estimate: $1B Needed In Arizona To Meet National Median For Teacher Pay

A new estimate suggests it would take about $1 billion to bring Arizona’s public school teacher salaries up to the national median of roughly $56,000 a year. That's if the state decided to meet that goal within a year.

Education advocacy group Expect More Arizona worked with the Arizona School Boards Association to develop the estimate.

Erin Hart is the interim president and CEO of Expect More Arizona. She said the estimate was meant to show just how far the state is from adequately supporting teachers, at least when it comes to pay.

"So I think the idea here is that we’re trying to elevate the need and why it’s important and talk about that long term funding solution that’s needed," Hart said. "And it may not happen overnight but it’s something we need to be working towards as a state."

Compensation is only part of the equation for attracting and retaining teachers in Arizona. She said mentor support and professional development are also important factors.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.