YUMA, Ariz. - "Some people have asked, 'What's next after Prop 123—where are steps 4, 5 and 6? Well, here we go," says Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
Ducey shared his vision for the state of Arizona in his recent "State of the State" speech.
The governor touched on 15 different education proposals and focused on the foundation of the Arizona education system—its teachers.
"Let's take these new dollars and put them where they will have the greatest impact on students," says Ducey, "The place where we know we will get the best return on investment. It's time for a raise for Arizona teachers."
In Yuma County, Superintendent Thomas Tyree recognizes that teachers deserve assistance of any kind, and says any help could only benefit local teachers.
"If we can do some things to assist in the area of salary and maybe also once again, help teachers in their college tuition costs maybe relieving them of some of their debt, those things have all got to be a positive," explains Tyree.
Along with raising teacher pay, Ducey also proposes erasing their debt, updating the teacher certification process, expanding full-day kindergarten in low-income areas, and suggesting a signing bonus for teachers working in low-income schools.
"To do this, we need to begin at the beginning," explains Ducey, “Because we can’t claim opportunity for all, unless every child, regardless of their background, neighborhood, county, or zip code, has access to a quality education.”
Days after his State of the State speech, Ducey released his "Invest in Arizona" budget plan. Some of the highlights pertaining to education include focusing 93 percent of ongoing spending proposals on education, investing $114 million in K-12 education, and a $1,000 signing bonus for teachers who commit to teaching in low-income schools.
Locally, Yuma County schools are preparing to benefit from these upcoming budget proposals, but also recognize a need for a more long-term solution.
"Although we're really pleased in what the governor has offered in his State of the State speech he gave the other day, the concern is that a lot of those are short-term fixes," explains Tyree, "What we really need in Arizona is a long-term fix. We need something that's sustainable and something that we don't need to keep going back to the voters for."