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Arizona education group president unveils $1.3 billion budget proposal to AZ Legislature

The Arizona Education Association has unveiled its budget proposal to the state Legislature. It asks for close to $1.3 billion for items like increases in teacher base pay and paid full-day kindergarten. 

Joe Thomas is president of the AEA.

“If our state is serious about ending the educator shortage, part of the solution must include competitive wages and salaries for teachers and school staff so they stop leaving our classrooms, our school sites and go work in other states and other occupations," Thomas said. 

That billion-dollar price tag is just a little less than what would have come from the Prop. 208 wealth tax voters approved. The measure was struck down by the Arizona Supreme Court. 

The U.S. Census ranks Arizona one of the lowest in the nation for its per pupil spending, shelling out far below the national average per student.

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