If you’ve seen the movie, A Christmas Story, you undoubtedly remember the scene where the boy is goaded into sticking his tongue to a frozen flagpole, and of course, his tongue sticks to it.

The scene is great because it captures how posturing and speech are involved in our interactions, and how we can paint one another, or sometimes ourselves, into a corner.

Flick: Are you kidding? Stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That’s dumb!

Schwartz: That’s ’cause you know it’ll stick!

Flick: You’re full of it!

Schwartz: Oh yeah?

Flick: Yeah!

Schwartz: Well I double DOG dare you!

Narrator (Ralphie as an adult): NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.

Schwartz: I TRIPLE-dog-dare you!

Narrator (Ralphie as an adult): Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!


If you’re in education, in any capacity, you’ll undoubtedly have heard the phrase, “ … what’s best for kids.”

If you’re not in education, you’ll likely be surprised to hear how vexing that phrase is to teachers!

The phrase is often used in the context of, “I want you to do this, after all, we have to do what’s best for kids, right?”  It’s coercive, manipulative, and rarely used to promote something that has any impact on what’s best for kids. It almost always has to do with what’s best for the person using the phrase.

And, it’s powerful.  I’ve used it myself, a few times.  Like the triple dog dare, it’s a trump card.  The first person to play it tactfully wins.

Let’s talk about what really is best for kids, in the context of education.

  1.  Stable Home Life

I never appreciated how important a stable home life was until I became a teacher.  I believed it was imperative, without consideration, and my wife and I worked very hard to provide a quality upbringing for our daughters.  But I never knew how bad things can turn for kids in the absence of a stable homelife. I’ll not chase this too far, though it deserves an incredible amount of attention, but is just far beyond the scope of what AZWP does.

The vast majority of incarcerated felons are high school dropouts.  The number one reason kids drop out, and this could be argued and dissected many ways, goes back to quality home life.

  1.  Teachers

Education is performed by teachers.  

In a way, I think that says it all.  The end, thanks for coming.

As a society we can provide the best books, facilities, the safest possible schools, the best support staff, counselors, administrators, school board members, the best buses and athletic programs, but the vast majority of kids will not receive a quality education without a quality teacher.

Yet, a quality education can be received by a student in a dangerous school, without textbooks, in a run down facility, without counselors or support staff, with bad administration, and corrupt politicians…if they have the right teachers.  That teacher that’s a source of light in a dark, dark world.

I’ve heard many, and want to tell, stories of those diamonds in the rough.  The story of a bad school in a bad neighborhood, and a kid with the cards stacked against him (or her).  Yet, in the most unlikely of places a teacher reached them, put them on a different path, one that led to prosperity and fulfillment.

If we, as a society, do not attract the right people into education, and then help develop those people into quality teachers (nobody is born a good teacher), and then encourage those people to stay IN THE CLASSROOM, it’s all for not.

Let me clear up a few points.  For a school to function well as a whole, all of the pieces need to be in place.  The top priority though, is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. We need the right people in the classroom doing the dirty work.  All of the other components are important and need to be high quality as well, but the act of educating kids is done by teachers.

The value teachers provide and the baseline perceived quality of teachers have both been under attack for decades.  Teachers are vilified and distrusted, they’re pointed at as the problem in education by textbook and test publication companies, politicians, and sadly enough, many citizens.  I could easily write volumes about each of these sources, their motivations and their proposed solutions. But there’s no need because they all have a common tactic, attacking the value of the teacher.

Teachers will still be leaving, at a record pace, if they do not make a livable wage.  As many have noted, and I’ve explored at some length here on my blog, the state average teacher salary is around $48,000 annually, as reported by the state.  That amount is far from reality when you consider the phrase I used earlier, IN THE CLASSROOM.  For those that don’t understand the reference, there are a lot of people that do not teach students that are reported as teachers.  (I’m not suggesting the services they provide aren’t valuable, but they skew the averages drastically.)

I have been teaching longer than most in Arizona and I’d be dancing in the streets if I made $48,000.  I work my second job to get to $48,000.  I would need another 26% increase over the 10% I just received to get to $48,000. I’m a quality math teacher headed into my 12th year of teaching.

Our current situation is this: #REDforED is trying to get more money into schools, and in my opinion the bar is too low.  We are trying to return to our per-pupil funding levels of 2008, when we were considered “The Mississippi of the West,” for education.

Regardless, once that money goes into schools the first and most important thing that must happen is that teachers need to earn a livable wage.  That’s not to say that other employees should be forgotten and passed over. That’s not to say facilities shouldn’t be updated. It’s not to say better safety precautions are not essential.  The act of education is performed by teachers. All other components support education.

We need enough money for all of those things.  The reality of the situation is that we are not receiving enough money for those things, not even close.

Analogies are risky because they’re always riddled with connections that are close, but not quite right.  The understanding gleaned from analogies is based on different situation with its own set of nuances and relationships and pitfalls are plentiful.  But analogies are powerful and useful in exposing key ideas.  These are all similar in the respect that the primary function of an organization is performed by one role.  Please consider a hospital without doctors, a transportation system without drivers, a computer with a processor, an airline without pilots, a team without players, a band without musicians, a canvas without a painter, a school without teachers.

#REDforED was spurred into existence because of a massive teacher shortage and all signs pointing towards the rapid expansion of that shortage.  Teachers, even after (if it comes to fruition) the 20×2020 deal, will not be staying in education, at least not in Arizona.

If you want what is best for kids, attract the right people into education, support and develop them into quality teachers, then reward and encourage them for staying.

Having quality teachers in classrooms is what’s best for kids. 

Teaching is different than many jobs because you’re always on.  I’ve worked in construction, sales, as a mechanic, food service, painting houses and many other odds and ends.

Teaching is different because there’s no down time.  To prepare for each day’s activities, to judge whether students “got it” or not, and to handle all of the other duties of a teacher, time outside of the classroom must be spent.  It’s a true juggling act.

But let’s be clear.  Unlike the other jobs I’ve worked, there’s no downtime.  You’re always on, always performing, managing, putting your game face on and teaching.  This is unlike other jobs because other jobs have a consistent ebb and flow. Sure, sometimes you’re so busy you cannot see straight, but there are slow times.  

Teaching never has a slow day.

After teaching, grading papers, lesson planning, calling parents, attending various meetings and fulfilling endless other obligations, teachers find themselves strapped for cash, needing to work extra job(s) just to keep the wolves from the door.  

Before we get to it, here’s a short clip from Bill Mahr, on teacher pay:


Here are a few examples from real teachers about the extra things they do to make ends meet.

  • My Side Hustle is selling Jamberry: www.meghanwinter.jamberrynails.net
  • After school program teacher, 3 cycles in a row + curriculum development work. Plus, my husband keeps the rest afloat. I help him with deliveries in his business every once in a while.
  • I sell lesson plans and worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers.
  • I pick up a few college classes…work until 9 PM a couple of nights a week…for the past decade.
  • I do contract work for Learning A-Z from home.
  • Real estate
  • Tutoring and teaching fitness classes
  • Origami Owl, Willing Beauty, Babysit
  • Drug dealing.
    • I’m kidding. I’m KIDDING!!
  • Work at Guess Retail 15 hours a week and for KOI Education hours vary.
  • Looking into selling plasma.  😉
  • LuLaRoe and currently applying for VIPKid
  • I’m married and my hubby’s job has amazing insurance so I don’t have to use the district’s. That’s how I can pay bills.
  • I tutor and sell Perfectly posh. I also beg my parents for money.
  • I create custom vinyl creations to make ends meet…
  • Work as a server 1 day/week during the year. Then 3 or 4 days/week on all breaks and save up that money. I make way better money serving then I do teaching. Masters/11 years.
  • I’ve bartended, waitressed, tutored online, coached, lots of extracurricular activities,but now I just don’t seem to have any time. Money is tight every month. Too tight. Downsized to one vehicle between m hubby and I.
  • I work for VIPKIDs in the evenings and weekends. Very EARLY crazy hours if you want to meet the needs of the kids in China. 😊
  • Air duct cleaning, selling Origami Owl, selling LipSense.
  • Weekend work at senior home, part time nanny job & bake cupcakes all on the side. In the past, have promoted Visalus & worked nights/ weekends at Sylvan Learning Center. Now my husband has huge medical bills from being hospitalized 5 days & can’t afford $800/mo t to put him on district insurance. No more hours in my day/ week to get yet another job.
  • My wife and I are both teachers. She sells LuLaRoe and I am her “roadie”. She is signing up to teach Chinese kids English online and I am Processing to grade sixth grade PARCC tests online.
  • I am working a kindergarten ready program for the city of Mesa, I make custom cupcakes (if I have time) and teach/ run summer school.
  • tutoring…site coordinator for 21st century grant
  • I teach summer school each summer, otherwise we would not make it. My wife is disabled and not drawing disability at this time. I worked for Home Depot after school each day for a couple of years but can no longer do that. Leaving for school at 5:00 am and working until 10 pm is no life at all.
  • Uber/Lyft driver
  • Photography 5 shoots or so a month. 10 during holiday season.
  • VIPKID… it’s the only thing that works as a side hustle with teaching and three kids and all of their activities. I hate waking up so early but that feeling goes away when the camera turns on… it really is a pretty rewarding side gig!
  • I work at a furniture store over the summer. My parents are the owners, so sometimes I can work during the year too if things get tough with money (they are super flexible, I’m really lucky).
  • I am a Mary Kay consultant, and always look around the house for things to sell on Offer Up
  • Selling Thirty One!
  • I’m lucky to do freelance graphic design and illustration through my pre-teaching job as a wedding invitation designer- my boss is amazing and she sends me work pretty frequently. It’s all online and it’s also my summer job.
  • Lyft and ESY.
  • I am a Pampered Chef Consultant, I used to tutor also. I have learned stopped paying retail for most things, buying from others selling what I need and second hand shops.
  • airbnb-I rent out two of the rooms in my house
  • The last two summers I’ve done summer camp through Mesa Public Schools. This summer I got summer school. ‘Summers off’ argument has never really applied to me…
  • I work after school and on the weekends as a realtor. If it weren’t for that it would be very difficult!
  • Husband and I are both teachers. I teach through my district’s After School Academy, tutor, and teach music lessons. My husband does recording and adjudicating for ABODA as well as Winter Guard AZ.
  • Live in a tiny studio apartment. Teach after school choir, pray I get summer school.
  • Tutoring with 21st Century two nights a week and I teach a college course at our local community college one night a week.
  • Rodan + Fields skincare, proctoring SAT, my mom gave me her car (with 160k miles on it) so I could sell mine (with 170k miles on it). We took out a little extra on my husbands student loans as he finishes his degree and starts his teacher cert program- he also works in the district in a support role and will be teaching next year. We’re excited about the extra 8k he’ll be making!
  • My side hustle is tutoring. I specialize in Dyslexic students. I’m a single Mom so I am also a budgeting ninja!! We are always weighing wants vs. needs. For example….I’ve really wanted to get my carpet cleaned for several years but it never makes the cut over food and Dr. visits.
  • I tutor privately 8 hrs/week. M-Th and Sat for 2 hrs.
  • I cricut stuff and I tutor after school
  • I work all the intersession and summer school days I can. Also tutoring 8-12 hours per week
  • I moved home (I’m single) and my parents help me with car insurance and phone. I’m working at least one job this summer teaching a few hours at a summer program and maybe looking into a tutoring job.
  • I work in IT for the US Gov’t. My wife is a resource teacher. no children, no extra bills. When she worked at a charter school, we paid off what we could, before she had it with the school. now she’s at a public school, almost 3000/mo cut in pay, but we’re getting by (barely).
  • Teach fitness classes and next year online graduate classes. My husband is a teacher as well and has taught community college classes and this year teaches home bound students as well.
  • Do Something Exceptional LLC
  • After school choir on Mondays, young living independent distributor, extra duties such as curriculum mapping, hoping for summer school.
  • I work every Achieve before and after school shift there is at my school. (Every morning and 3 afternoons a week.) I’m also the Tech Coach. My family will be missing the extra income when Achieve ends in 2 weeks so I am looking for a new 2nd job
  • Bartender
  • I teach online. I am also lucky that my husband supports my hobby of teaching. Honestly, it’s sort of a hobby. Like I just need to get out of the house because I could make more money teaching full time online.
  • Scoring online for ETS, Pearson scoring and summer school
  • Tutoring- 6 hours a week
  • I do tutoring after school during the week, and I took on a lead position in the district for a little extra pay, and then we just have to struggle because I want to see my toddler.
  • LuLaRoe, retail on the weekends, and graphic design for other LuLaRoe consultants!
  • Voice lessonsLyft, SAT testing, Etsy (not a lot), Tpt (not a lot), sidework training for my old contract agency, cleaning my grandparents house.
  • I do morning and after school tutoring. I was also working weekends at smashburger but I had to quit so that my teaching wouldn’t suffer. I was losing my sanity. Now that tutoring will be wrapping up soon I may be going back
  • Voice and piano lessons, teachers pay teachers, after school, and summer school
  • I run an all natural Cosmetics andf Skincare biz…in my “spare” time
  • Private music lessons is my side hustle . . . but the real reason this has worked is because of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that we took in 2009 . . . we haven’t taken on new debt in our marriage . . . which keeps our bills low. Oh yeah, and infertility . . . not having kids (and no infertility coverage) makes our budget smaller. Don’t even get me started on that issue.
  • I teach dance 20 hour’s a week!
  • Tutor and teach an after school softball club. Outside of school work in sales at home shows!
  • Tutoring and Rodan and Fields
  • Photographer. 6 sessions this morning so I can send my oldest to Catalina with his school because I can’t adopts it to come out of our paychecks
  • I sell Origami Owl jewelry now and have worked at a local restaurant for many years before the jewelry!
  • I coach gymnastics mostly as a sub at a local gym
  • Decal business. Baby sitting service for weddings & events.
  • I coach volleyball, basketball, track, plus I’m a co-athletic director. Then I run my school’s NJHS, video announcements, yearbook, and share advisor responsibilities for a super active student council. In addition I sell firewood in the winter and build custom wood crafts and signs during the year.
  • I have a 4yo and a 2yo that I never get to see because I’m always at school or working.
  • Head Pool Manager of a year-round Aquatic Center. I go from teaching teens academics to teaching them how to be distinguished employees/leaders. Side note: the take home pay there is $200 less than my teaching salary, despite my Aquatic Center position being part-time.
  • Teaching tutoring and college classes for a local university.
  • Customer service rep at David’s bridal so my fiance and I can have a wedding.
  • I coach Spiritline, teach Summer School, and sell Pampered Chef!!
  • I work as an event attendant at ASU.
  • Kohls… I’ve been working there for 3 years. Before that, I worked our “Flex Fridays,” after-school tutoring program, and summer school. I’ve also worked at NAU-distance learning for a few semesters.
  • I work as a cashier at Home Depot after school and weekends a few days a week. Then as many hours as I can over the summer. I also sell resources I create on TPT. In addition, I take on as many extra roles at the school as possible (both because they are rewarding and some pay) such as yearbook team, training other teachers through our professional development classes, and mentoring student teachers. Things got very tough when my husband lost his job for a period of time. In that time we had incurred more credit card debt and don’t even get me started on avoiding the student loans I cannot afford. His minimum wage job checks were incredibly close to my take home teacher pay. Did I mention we have roommates? Thank goodness for that and them because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford to live.
  • I have an etsy shop and sell hair bows and personalized t-shirts.
  • Bath and Body Works and tutoring
  • Ak chin concerts, cardinal stadium, spring training, lyft, uber, Cracker barrell
  • I work a before school program every morning, tutor privately 4 days a week, and work at a gym on the weekends
  • I work a before school program every morning, tutor privately 4 days a week, and work at a gym on the weekends
  • tutor 2-3 kids a week, substitute at sylvan and I also sell Thirty-One and Norwex. During summers I also provide respite (nanny type) services to a family in my old neighborhood.
  • When I was teaching in AZ I worked 1-3 nights at a restaurant… never had a day off. Sunday’s were always my lesson planning day….
  • Sylvan Learning Center, after school ELD Tutoring, and summer school
  • I have my own health and wellness business and I typically pick up a summer job, either summer school, or little odd jobs for friends and family.
  • I tutor and teach horseback riding. Basically I work 7 days a week and still barely make the bills.
  • Online surveys, garage sales every other month, selling off old clothes and I’ll be starting tutoring this week.
  • I teach for VIPKID, a company based in Beijing, China. As a single parent, this side hustle is what allows me to be able to afford to teach in Arizona.
  • I work at the boys and girls clubs after school and on breaks in order to make sure I have enough for rent and other bills. When the math works out, I make more from the Boys and Girls clubs than I do teaching.
  • Wrangled up a sugar daddy.
  • I do photography. I looove it; I will do it regardless of what I make teaching… lucky in that way.
  • I am a waitress at a restaurant Fridays Saturdays and Sundays (30hrs a week) and then teach private lessons on Mondays Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And I coach basket all at school. Oh and after 2 years of living this way I’ve resorted to getting a roommate because my health is quickly declining and I cannot keep the side hustles up for much longer.
  • I used to have a second job working with developmentally disabled adults on the weekends, but when that company was bought out and they were requiring 12 hours per week to stay employed with the new company I resigned. I couldn’t manage that much. Right now my family isn’t really making it and I only have two kids. I am considering getting a job this summer to supplement the income. I can’t even afford to put my 3 year old in preschool.
  • I am a Beachbody Coach and a doTerra wellness advocate, but I don’t make any profit on either so far. I am divorced with 3 kids so I pretty much live paycheck to paycheck right now. It’s a strain for sure.
  • Coaching/tutoring & returning to my college favorite…plasma
  • Homebound teacher
  • I am an author on TPT. Trying to pay of stupid student loans before I retire or die!😂 I love teaching, but I honestly wish I had listened to my brain and not my heart.
  • Babysitting in the summer.
  • I teach for an online college, I teach SAT/ACT prep classes, teach summer school, working on a consulting job, and I’m casually working with Young Living.
  • I teach for an online college, I teach SAT/ACT prep classes, teach summer school, working on a consulting job, and I’m casually working with Young Living.
  • Student council, volleyball, and summer curriculum.
  • Freelance writing and editing, mostly with an indie hybrid micropublisher. I do antique reselling occasionally. I have taught online in the past and written content for an ed tech startup. I will likely start blogging for a bluegrass band later this week. Always a side hustle.
  • I write romance novels! I published two books last year
  • I tutor on Saturday’s for 5 hours. I also sell things I win. For instance, I won country thunder tickets and I LOVE country thunder, but needed to pay my SRP bill. So I sold them
  • Tutoring and research studies and about to drive for lyft
  • I work the front desk at a massage spa and I give softball lessons on the weekends
  • Over the last 20 years I have worked for both Mesa and Chandler Parks and Rec, some retail stores, painted murals, sold crafts directed a STEM program and taught summer school.
  • A lot of tutoring…and I started a small tutoring business called TNT Tutoring! I hire only certified teachers and pay better than the other tutoring companies. Since the business is still new, we are still just in the northwest valley. So if anyone wants a tutoring job in the west valley, let me know. www.tnttutoringaz.com
  • I started a student travel company 12 years ago called Hands-on Spanish Travel. We focus on Spanish immersion and global citizenry development. Great fun and needed to pay the bills. Check it out, we PAY teachers to travel with us through profit sharing. Off to the Galapagos this Summer. Www.hands-onspanish.com
  • GCU online, after school tutoring, summer school.
  • I work 25-30 hours a week at Apple. Nights an weekends. And I teach summer school.
  • I nanny for 3 different families during the school year and add a 4th family during the summer.
  • I sell Usborne Books & More!!
  • I deliver for Amazon and I’m a professional photographer. @adamkohnproductionsaz
  • I sing professionally which requires a lot of individual work in addition to rehearsals and concerts that usually take up my weekend.
  • I tutor four days a week and I’m thinking of starting a club next year because childcare and having a family is just so expensive. It’s hard to even afford necessities on a teacher’s pay alone.
  • My wife and I own a business. https://spunlightcottoncandy.com
  • This whole post literally makes me want to cry.
  • I just started doing Instacart shopping – it’s grocery shopping for other people.
  • Professional Photography….Elizabeth Douglas Photography
  • Usborne Books and More Independent Consultant
  • Pet sitting, Airbnb, Subleasing.
  • Walgreens and sometimes tutoring
  • Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Grubhub, Doordash and Instacart.
  • Tutoring, teaching online, working weekend gigs for music when possible
  • Licensed esthetician. Wish the paychecks were switched. I love esthetics but I can’t do it full time. I’d get bored. Education is so rewarding.
  • Two paying roommates, a 14 year old car, and plenty of clothes almost as old, but my personal debt is increasing.
  • Two paying roommates, a 14 year old car, and plenty of clothes almost as old, but my personal debt is increasing.
  • Serve tables in a restaurant 20+ hrs a week
  • I also scored essays for ETS – mostly SAT and Texas STARR
  • I work a beverage cart at a golf course! Often I make more in a day on the course than I do in my classroom.
  • Two teacher fam. We deliver food for restaurants, clean a church on Saturday, coach, tutor, teach an extra class, mentor a student teacher, teach dial enrollment, and have an etsy shop.
  • Tutoring and I twist balloons at a restaurant.
  • work as an Amazon delivery driver 7 days a week. As soon as I finish tutoring after school (which used to be a paid position but no longer is, due to the end of the 21st century grant) I head out to pick up a shift. I usually deliver until 9 or 10, and then head home so I can get up early and prepare my lessons for the day
  • Tutor for VIPKID from 5:00-6:30am during the week
  • 35-40 hrs overnights at Circle K
  • my husband and I teach online community college classes – I make a 1/4 of my salary teaching one class a semester.
  • I average 30 hours/week as a manager at Harkins Theatres. This qualifies me for insurance through Harkins, which is offered at less cost than that I can get through my school district. I also get $2000 per year in tuition reimbursement from Harkins, which has allowed me to move over on my school salary schedule to MA+18 this year and MA+36 next year, for free. All of this is because of my second, hourly paid job which requires no degree, as opposed to my salaried career for which I have a bachelors and a masters degree
  • I work as a bartender and server!!!
  • Well, I do without a lot of things to be honest. Thrift shop. Older vehicle. Simple housing. Cheapest Internet and TV. For 10 years, no TV. Really cut back and budget, budget, budget. And a whole lot of prayer. Sigh.
  • Bartending and tutoring! It doubles my salary!!!
  • Tutoring, spousal support, child support, and just converted my garage to rent a room to my sister.
  • Gold Canyon Candles & Decor Executive
  • Seasonal retail and sitting over the summer. (I have three of my own.)
  • Currently my fiance and I live with my parents… Only way to save up money to have a wedding a save up money for a place to live…

Imagine what teachers could do if they could focus their energies only on teaching your children!?!

The Truth About 301

By John Harris


Many in the education field praised the passage of Prop 301. Legislators lauded their own ability to funnel “more money” into K12 education. Teachers, at least reluctantly, rejoiced the passage because it helped to guarantee that the funding given back to them would continue for the next 20 years.

After speaking with several members of our Arizona legislature, I wanted to find out where the money from Prop 301 actually goes. According to the AZ Treasury Office (https://aztreasury.gov/local-govt/revenue-distributions/prop-301/), and numbers provided by Representative Paul Mosley, a member of the Banking and Insurance Committee, here is how the money is allocated this year and every year as an autopilot budget program:

With the passage of Proposition 301 in the November 2000 general election, the Department of Revenue started collecting an additional 0.6% sales tax beginning June 1, 2001. Pursuant to Section 42-5029E the monies ($667,458,515.00 for FY2017) are to be distributed as follows:


  1. If there are any outstanding School Facilities Revenue Bonds, 1/12 of the annual debt service amount ($64,142,501.00) is transferred to the bond debt service account. This helps districts who have passed bond initiatives pay for physical renovations to their campuses.


  1. Twelve percent of the remaining monies ($72,397,921.71) is transferred to the Technology and Research Initiative Fund to be distributed to each of the universities. None of this money goes into K-12 education. It is purely for University technology spending. 
  2. Three percent of the remaining monies (18,099,480.43) is transferred to the Workforce Development Account developed by each of the Community College Districts. This helps community colleges train people in technical fields to pursue employment in a trade.


  1. Any community college owned by a qualifying Indian tribe on its own reservation will receive a share equal to the amount each Community College District receives for workforce development. ($769,992.61)


  1.  One-twelfth of the amount ($86,280,500.00) for the increased cost of basic state aid due to added school days and associated teacher salary increases (FY 05 – $66,957,200). This is paid if there are any extra instructional days due to various circumstances (flooding, electrical outage, etc.)


  1. One-twelfth of the amount ($8,000,000.00) to the Department of Education for school safety and character education (school safety $7,800,000; character education $200,000 per fiscal year). This money goes mainly to SROs on campus to ensure that schools are “safe.” 
  2.  An amount of $7,000,000 for increased accountability in the Department of Education (ED). This amount is not to exceed $7,000,000 per fiscal year. This is to ensure the ED has our compliance with federal law and the IDEA act and FAPE. 
  3.  One-twelfth of the remaining amount ($1,500,000.00) to the Department of Education to fund the failing schools tutoring program. This was a tutoring program designed to help schools who were not meeting AYP under NCLB (now repealed).

  4.  One-twelfth of the amount ($25,000,000) goes back to the State General Fund to offset the cost of the income tax credits allowed by section 43-1072.01. This amount is used to replace money in the general fund that was taken out to give tax credits.

Combined, numbers one through nine total  $283,190,395.75. None of this money goes to the classroom for teachers or for resources used to drive instruction.


  1. The remaining monies ($384,268,119.45) will be used for instruction in the following way:
  1. 40% ($153,707,247.78) goes to classroom site fund to be used as performance pay.
  2. 40% ($153,707,247.78) goes to maintenance and operational purposes
  3. 20% ($76,853,623.89) goes to teachers’ base salary


In total, teachers have access to 34.5% of the entire amount of the 301 money. 65.5% goes other places like universities, bond payouts, community colleges, the Department of Education, and a tutoring program designed under a set of laws not in place anymore.

A good place to start with improving teacher pay is to use more of the money that the legislature says is being used for K12 public instruction and use less of it on universities, bond repayments, ED oversight, and tutoring programs that are either non-effective or have been dismantled. Prop301 needs to be redesigned, restructured, and sent back to the floor for passage; however, increasing teacher salaries is not the only way for teachers to have the ability to bring home more money.

In my meetings yesterday, I asked both representatives how many obstacles there would be to adding all teachers and Educational Support Personnel (ESPs) to the state insurance plan. Both indicated that it was an elegant solution that would give a majority of teachers an increase in monthly take-home pay without having to raise taxes.

For me, I would bring home an additional $580 a month if I were to choose the lowest-deductible state plan. That would increase my take-home pay by 26% (higher than the ask of AEU’s top demand). It would also give teachers better insurance, lower premiums, lower deductibles, and the ability to have a health savings plan that we can use for any health emergency.

At the end of the day, the goal is to increase the amount of money a teacher brings home per paycheck. How we go about doing it is going to be the sticking point. We cannot just attempt to bullrush the legislature. Many of our elected officials have been put in office by making promises to their constituents who believe they will follow through on those promises.

Like it or not, Arizona is a predominately Republican state (and I don’t mean the legislation; I mean the citizens) who do not want to increase their taxes. Property taxes in Arizona are twice what the taxes are in Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Those who live in rural parts of the state are not willing to increase their taxes to help fund teachers or any other social service. Our number one goal should be to funnel more money into public education using the budget that has already been approved. There really is no other way around it.

©2018 IH8PD.com

Top photo borrowed from: https://azednews.com/prop-301-revenues-trend-up-raising-concerns-about-its-2021-expiration/
In-Text photo from: https://medium.com/tson-news-by-three-sonorans/how-ht-sanchez-took-teachers-money-to-hide-tusd-s-15-million-debt-the-reason-prop-301-was-971085d751cf