HB2800 Does Nothing to Fix Arizona’s Teacher Pay Crisis

HB2800 Does Nothing to Fix Arizona’s Teacher Pay Crisis


March 2nd, 2023

Contact: Tyler Kowch, 602-321-7290


HB2800 Does Nothing to Fix Arizona’s Teacher Pay Crisis

Save Our Schools Arizona applauds the effort by Rep. Matt Gress (R-4) to raise educator pay but cannot support HB2800 – a poorly constructed bill that is simply unworkable. The sponsor did not consult education funding experts before introducing this legislation, and none registered or testified in support of the legislation. By contrast, teacher pay bill HB2779, sponsored by Rep. Schwiebert (D-2) and constructed thoughtfully with input from many education experts, has been blocked from any House Education Committee Agendas. 

The way that HB2800 defines “teacher” is very narrow. It intentionally leaves out half-time teachers, most special education teachers, and all critically needed support personnel like aides, bus drivers, and counselors. Furthermore, the bill requires that schools pay teachers higher salaries, no matter what. If the legislature doesn’t fully fund this initiative — for example, if lawmakers fail to budget appropriately for the required teacher raises, fail to waive the AEL spending cap, or if a coming recession drives them to cut school funding — districts would be required to fulfill the teacher raises anyway. This would force them to cut classroom funding and lay off teachers (thus increasing class sizes) to meet HB2800’s requirements.

The fund allocated by HB2800 would be tied to an “accountability” measure that does little more than bury schools in busywork. Public school funding is already highly accountable. (Not to mention, Arizona is also flinging hundreds of millions of dollars a year at ESA vouchers with zero accountability.) Any new funds that do get allocated would be subject to the AEL school spending cap. Passing this “teacher pay fix” while keeping the AEL in place would be putting the cart before a horse charging down the Grand Canyon.

Save Our Schools thanks Rep. Gress for highlighting Arizona’s need to increase teacher pay but calls on the legislature to advance a real solution, like Rep. Schweibert’s HB2779. We call on the House Speaker Toma to allow lawmakers the chance to debate HB2779!