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Arizona Auditor General Report Shows Teachers' Salaries May Not Increase The Promised 20%

A new report on Arizona school spending sews doubts on Gov. Doug Ducey’s promise to raise teacher salaries by 20%. The promise may fall short.

In 2018, the governor promised to raise pay 20% over a four-year period. A report from state Auditor General Lindsey Perry says while school districts are being provided the cash with the intent of increasing salaries, that money can be used to pay for other expenses because there is no requirement by law.

Perry says the cash is being distributed based on the number of students instead of how much each individual district would need to give each teacher the targeted increase. Also, in keeping with Ducey’s schedule, salaries last year should have been up by 15% but instead increased just over 13%.

Perry can't say whether salaries will go up by that full promised 20% when this school year's numbers are taken into account.

Other findings in the report show that in the last five years the percentage of school spending on instruction and student support has increased.

However, Arizona’s schools spend a lot less than the national average. Arizona spent $9,136 per student this past school year. The national average was $12,652. And that national figure actually is two years older, but is what was available to state auditors.

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.