Phoenix Union votes to raise salaries for all teachers, staff

The Phoenix Union High School District has unanimously voted to raise salaries for all staff, including teachers, counselors, bus drivers and custodians.

Officials said these salaries are some of the highest in the state for education, and it's meant to retain and attract employees.

This was all made possible due to the state's budget increase this year.

Metro Tech teacher Herbert Smith says this pay increase means he and his colleagues can breathe a little easier.

"I think a lot of people understand how hard it is to be a teacher and work in education these days, and not that we want to become millionaires, but we want to be compensated fairly," Smith said. "I think that brings just what we needed at this time In education."

The minimum wage will now be $16 an hour for education support professionals, and starting teacher pay will increase from $49,000 to just over $52,000 annually.

"The legislative session ended last year and did allocate significant new funds to schools," explained district superintendent Dr. Chad Geston. "Phoenix Union is actually at historically high enrollment rates - we actually have our highest enrollment since the 1960s and 1970s - and so when enrollment has increased, so has our financial capacity."

Administrators will also get increases, and substitute teacher's pay will go from $115 to $150 a day.

The salary increases will be applied retroactively for current staff dating back to July 1.

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