Teachers to get 5% raise

MUSD headquarters [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

The Maricopa Unified School District governing board voted Wednesday to give a 5% pay raise to all current teachers and raise pay for incoming new teachers by 2.5%. The increases lift the average teacher salary to $61,799 and the average starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience to $50,000.

The district will give the same 5% pay hike to all its employees. Staff who have been with the district for nine or more years will receive an additional 1% longevity increase.

“I’m happy to see we’re going to do that, with the 5% and then the longevity for the nine years plus, so they’ll be getting 6% on top of their base,” said governing board member Torri Anderson. “I’m happy.”

Board president Robert Downey said he like the broad nature of the increases.

“We in the last year I’ve been on the board have significantly improved the money for principals, assistant principals and teachers,” Downey said. “They are key to improving student performance, which is obviously the goal of all of us. And the board is delivering curriculum and facilities to help that whole process and make us a destination place beyond Maricopa.”

AnnaMarie Knorr said MUSD superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman is largely responsible for the successes of the district in recent years.

“I just want to thank Dr. Lopeman and her cabinet for continually investing in our staff, which then benefits our students,” Knorr said. “I challenge you to look anywhere in the state of Arizona where a district has continually given raises to teachers and their classified staff like this district has under the leadership of Dr. Lopeman and her cabinet. It’s going to be hard to find.”

MUSD Director of Business Jacob Harmon said the raises help keep the district competitive when it comes to hiring and retaining faculty and staff. He said that the district is rolling performance pay into the base salaries of teachers, which creates larger pay increases because the base pay the 5% raise is calculated from is higher.

“This definitely helps keep us competitive,” Harmon said. “If we don’t put it in the base salary, and a teacher applies to us, they usually just see that base salary, not the add-ons. So, if the district next door has that in their base and we don’t, even though the actual compensation is similar they’re going to go with the other district. Most districts in the state are doing the same thing, so we need to be competitive