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AZ House Republicans give preliminary OK to $10,000 teacher pay raise

Arizona House Republicans gave preliminary approval to a bill to give the state’s teachers a $10,000 pay hike on Tuesday.

But critics say House Bill 2800 doesn’t actually provide schools enough funding to do just that.

Officials with the Arizona Education Association note the bill fails to cover other costs associated with higher pay — a point echoed by Democratic Rep. Laura Terech on the House floor.

"In the Appropriations Committee, the sponsor even admitted that the bill fails to fully cover the costs associated with health insurance, retirement, and social security," Terech said. 

Republicans also amended the bill to tie the teacher pay hike to a host of other provisions, including a requirement that schools post certain lesson plans online.

An amendment to HB 2800 also ties increased teacher pay to the passage of another bill that requires schools to post certain lesson plans online.

Democrats argued the amendment violated the state constitution, which says bills must deal with a single subject at a time.

Republicans like Rep. Teresa Martinez argued that academic and financial accountability, coupled with higher teacher pay, is justified.

"I think it is incumbent upon this legislature to do all that it can to support teachers, to make sure that teachers are paid what they deserve," Martinez said. 

The bill is opposed by a variety of public school organizations and advocacy groups that argue it lacks a permanent source of funding to support its $10,000 raise for teachers.

Arizona Agenda’s Hank Stephenson joined The Show to explain the politics behind the bill.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.