SAN LUIS, Ariz. - The local school system is facing a big problem here in Arizona. A shortage of school teachers continues to play a role in the education system and their pay is not helping.
At a town hall meeting in San Luis, Ariz. Thursday night, the Arizona State Superintendent shared what it will take to fund education.
“As I’ve traveled the length and breath of this state I’ve seen the issues are very different from one corner to another and the answers are not all the same. So we can’t have a one size fits all system,” said Diana Douglas, Arizona State Superintendent.
The numbers are not good. The dire need of teachers continues and Arizona is rock bottom when it comes to average teacher salaries.
“One of the things we hear loud and clearly from Arizonans, they want there teachers paid better so there is a lot of concern out there about education good and bad," Douglas said.
In Yuma County, there are about 30 to 50 teacher jobs that remain vacant this school year and local charter schools are facing the same numbers.
Arizona teachers make an average salary of just over $45,000.
Douglas addressed one of the top concerns at her “We Are Listening Tour” by introducing a proposal to raise teacher salaries.
“An expansion and extension of prop 301, the .6 cents sales tax, part of my plan which we will release and I've already been talking about is increasing that to a full penny and making it permanent. But the additional .4 cent will go to teacher salaries three quarters of it and one quarter to school facilities.”
Survey results by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association show that the teacher shortage in Arizona is getting worse.
“One of the things I don’t want to see our state do is lower the standards for the teachers of our classroom just because we have the teacher shortage," Douglas added.
The survey also said it’s not helping that fewer college students are stepping into this career.