Arizona Governor announces 20 percent teacher pay increase by 2020

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is bending to teacher demands that he provide a big boost in pay by promising a net 20 percent raise by 2020.

The proposal rolled out by the Republican governor Thursday doesn't increase funding for other school needs or provide raises for school staff as a grassroots teachers group demanded. But it does bring dedicated salary increases. Under the proposal, average teacher pay would go from about $49,000 a year to over $58,000 by the start of 2020. 

>>VIDEO: Gov. Ducey makes pay raise announcement

“Arizona teachers are the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona’s children, and we need to reward them for their hard work —  this plan does that through a 20 percent increase by school year 2020,” said Gov.Ducey. “We are also making significant investments in Arizona classrooms in a responsible and sustainable way. We will never stop our commitment to improving Arizona’s public education system because when it comes to our kids, we must never stop working for them.”

The announcement comes on a week when teachers that have been protesting at the Capitol for weeks promised to set a date for a walkout. 

Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation and have been emboldened by pay increases won by educators in west Virginia and Oklahoma in recent weeks. 

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