Brian Clymer, Attorney at Law

Teachers, educational support staff overdue for higher pay as increasing demands make work place more challenging

We represent injured workers from all walks of life and in every kind of occupation. Among the most dedicated workers we encounter are the teachers and educational support staff in our local public schools. They typically share a common passion and commitment to educating and supporting our children -- whether by teaching in the classroom, driving a school bus, cleaning the school grounds, or preparing and serving hot meals as a school cook.

Increasingly, more and more is asked of these folks, without adequate resources to match the demands. Since the Great Recession, Arizona has slashed more than $1 billion in state funding from public education. This means fewer school counselors to respond to children with emotional or behavioral disabilities. This means fewer aides and paraprofessionals to assist in regular and special education classrooms. This means fewer resources to meet the growing demands of a 21st Century educational system. 

For these reasons, we support the #RedForEd efforts that call for: 1) a 20-percent increase not only teacher's pay but also a pay increase for support staff; 2) restoration of school funding to pre-Great Recession levels of 2008; and 3) no new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.

Keep these facts in mind: 1) Arizona spends about $7,489 per pupil compared to the national average of $11,392 per pupil -- that's about 34 percent less per student on education than the rest of the country; and 2) Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars today than it did in 2008. The time is now to re-invest in our children, our teachers, our schools, and our communities. 

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