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Support Teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day by Giving Them a Raise

AEA Calls Out Treasurer Dewit for Intentional Prop 123 Mistruths About Teacher Raises

Phoenix, AZ – May 3, 2016 – Today is national Teacher Appreciation Day and voters have an opportunity to give Arizona teachers their first significant raise in years. Unfortunately, State Treasurer Jeff DeWit continues to spread deliberate falsehoods about Prop 123 and its impact on Arizona teachers who are already being slated to receive pay raises in the event Prop 123 is passed by voters on May 17. 

Last week, DeWit told PBS Horizon host Ted Simons that Prop 123 does not bring more money for teachers and accused local school districts of both lacking accountability and not wanting to issue teacher pay raises – which is demonstrably false. 

Arizona’s 230 school districts are governed by locally elected members who answer to parents, teachers, educational support staff, and voters at large. These same districts are either considering or have already approved additional budgets that become effective in the event Prop 123 is passed by voters. 

“We find it extremely distasteful that Treasurer DeWit chooses to ignore basic facts and to lie in an attempt to undermine support for Prop 123 from our state’s education community and public,” said Arizona Education Association (AEA) President Andrew F. Morrill. “Arizona educators have been neglected and underpaid for years and we won’t stand silently while so-called leaders of this state attempt to derail this referendum at all costs.”

More than five years ago, the education community, including AEA, which represents more than 20,000 public school employees, sued the Arizona Legislature over the rescinding of inflationary payments to schools required under Prop 301. The lawsuit culminated in a legal victory for schools and teachers and led to negotiations that created Prop 123. 

“In his desperation, Mr. DeWit has shown he’ll say about anything to try to scare people out of voting for Prop 123,” said AEA President-Elect Joe Thomas. “His claims against Prop 123, whether political or economic, are wrong and nothing short of intentional and unacceptable.”

Currently, nearly twenty-five districts have approved secondary budgets for fiscal year 2016 and 2017 that increase teacher pay. After years of persistent underfunding, Arizona is experiencing a teacher retention crisis due to teacher salaries below regional and national averages. This crisis is recognized by the Arizona Department of Education’s Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force

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