State has budget surplus but no promises for more teacher pay ra - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

State has budget surplus but no promises for more teacher pay raises

The state budget is expected to have an extra quarter billion dollars in the budget but it's unclear how much of that teachers will get. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The state budget is expected to have an extra quarter billion dollars in the budget but it's unclear how much of that teachers will get. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Senate President Steve Yarbrough said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Senate President Steve Yarbrough said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Some teachers say they could strike if they don't get a legitimate pay raise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some teachers say they could strike if they don't get a legitimate pay raise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said Tuesday he is making no promises that teachers will get more than the 1 percent pay raise they are being offered right now.

This comes as teachers have stepped up their pressure on lawmakers to pony up more money they say is already there.

[READ MORE: Hundreds protest low teacher pay at Phoenix radio station]

Last month, the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated the state has $247 million more in cash than expected.

Yarbrough says teacher pay is a top priority of his but the state also has other needs to address.

"There are all sorts of competing needs, whether it's road construction or corrections or public safety, it's a balancing test," Yarbrough said.

[RELATED: Teachers argue for tax cut windfall to finance pay raises]

Arizona teachers rank among the lowest paid in the country.

Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing $400 million in new money for K-12 schools, but only $34 million is earmarked for teacher pay increases.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona politics]

As part of his plan, the governor wants to put $100 million into district additional assistance, money used for maintenance, school supplies and potentially teacher pay.

[READ MORE: Gov. Ducey plans to add $100M in capital funding for schools]

But it is not a guarantee as school districts will have the final say on how the money is spent.

Regardless, some teachers are threatening to walk off the job is they don't get a raise.

[RELATED: AZ teachers wear red in push for pay raise; future strike a possibility]

"Together we can accomplish anything and having a strike, it could happen it could happen much sooner than people think," said Shannon Moxley, a sixth-grade teacher in Chandler.

Moxley said her husband quit teaching several years ago because the pay was so low. 

And she warned state leaders to take the demands of teacher seriously.

"This isn't a joke. It's not something we're taking lightly and people have had enough and we have lost too many great teachers from our profession already and we're done," she said.  

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