KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mesa Public Schools is now one of the highest paying districts in Arizona

Mesa Public Schools has approved pay increases for all of its 8,500 employees, effective July 1.

The increase makes Mesa one of the highest paying school districts in the state.

The crowd cheered Tuesday night after the district’s governing board approving its new compensation plan, which gives everyone from custodians to administrators a 3-4% salary increase.

Fifteen people showed up to testify in favor of the plan. Elizabeth Tanner, a teacher at Westwood High School, said the pay increase will offer some much needed relief.

“The employees, when I talked to them about it, are ecstatic," Tanner said. "They didn't think that this was a possibility. Many are concerned about their livelihoods, about cost of living.”

Justin Wing is the assistant superintendent of human resources for the district. He said the team that came up with the new compensation plan prioritized classified staff members who earn a lower hourly rate than others.

“Our minimum wage going into next year is $16.31 an hour," Wing said. "The state of Arizona is at $14.35 an hour. So Mesa Public Schools, when I say I prioritize our hourly staff, we’re almost $2 greater than the Arizona minimum wage rate.”

Wing said the district is maximizing all of its funding sources — from maintenance and operations to grants — to make that happen.

The compensation plan includes contingency language that allows the district to reevaluate and up the raises if more money becomes available from the state.

More stories from KJZZ

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.