Sympathy for Teachers and Taxpayers

March 8, 2019

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

I was 19 when I first heard this Rolling Stones song. Yes I know late to the party but whatevs I was born in 1967 so the Stones were not exactly on point for my generation, and to this day I hurl a trident at anyone who recognizes any Stones album besides Some Girls as their finest work.

Coo Coo!

So anyway I’m 19 and during the final exam period my dorm had something known as “yell spell” where you could make as much noise as you wanted for 15 minutes. One of my fellow residents somehow had two closet sized speakers in his broom closet sized dorm room and played the original version of this song at an unimaginably loud level. Every “Pleased to meet you!” would rattle your teeth. RAs from other floors rushed down and yelled at our RA, but it didn’t matter because no one could hear you scream. As my eardrums began to rupture, I was struck by the following lyrics:

I shouted out
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me

Anyhoo this all came back to mind as I began looking into some of the factors influencing teacher pay in Arizona in a piece for the Chamber Business News:

The teacher who posted her paystub on social media however received an annual pay increase of $131.25 despite the override vote, and average salaries dropped by an average of $7,885 between 2017 and 2018. In addition, the fund balance of this district stood at $52 million on July 1, 2016 according to the Superintendent’s Financial Report but at $173 million on June 30, 2018. One cannot discern what the district plans to do with these balance funds from the report but thus far it does not seem to involve improving teacher pay.

I searched the employee association websites looking for signs of displeasure regarding the drop in teacher pay, or the percentage of funds devoted to teacher salary. I didn’t find any. Not only do teachers have reason to be frustrated with this, so do district taxpayers who supported the override.