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Mesa Public Schools Plans For Teacher, Classified Staff Raises

Public school districts around the state are preparing their budgets for next year.

Arizona’s largest school district, Mesa Public Schools, is planning for a potential shortfall next year.

Administrators are trying to figure out how they’ll fund additional teacher raises and the minimum wage increase to $12 an hour.

The district reports the state budget has not provided enough money to fund the promised 20 percent pay teacher raises by 2020. As The Arizona Republic reported, the raises were slightly different in every district.

Mesa voters did not approve a budget override last fall, and the district predicts up to a $11.8 million budget deficit next year.

The district could call for another override election in November.

In the meantime district leaders are exploring ways to save money in areas such as transportation.

The school board will discuss the budget at a meeting Tuesday.

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Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.