Salaries on all levels remain topic of concern in town school districts

Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD, Chandler USD
Average teacher salaries this school year in the three public school districts that serve Gilbert (Sources: Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD, Chandler USD).

Average teacher salaries this school year in the three public school districts that serve Gilbert (Sources: Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD, Chandler USD).

Salaries on all job levels remain in the forefront of public school educational concerns in 2020.

Teachers' salaries in particular continue to be scrutinized as Arizona enters the final year of Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed “20 by ‘20” three-year program to raise teacher salaries 20% from 2016-17 levels.

That program, which came after a 2018 teacher walkout during that year’s legislative session, was to give districts an additional 10% for salaries in 2018-19, 5% in 2019-20 and 5% in 2020-21, based on the state’s median salary for teachers from 2016-17.

All three of the school districts that serve Gilbert—Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD and Chandler USD—have median teacher salaries that are above the state’s median salaries and have had to find additional budget money to give raises at or near 5%.

“Although we’ll be monitoring and making sure the governor’s distributing that money, it’s still not going to cover for everything,” said Mum Martens, HUSD human resources executive director. “So we will have to strategically look at that total dollar amount and how we handle that across the district.”

The three districts participated in an eight-district salary study in 2019 that has had them evaluating salary schedules from administrators to classified staff.

For the Gilbert and Higley districts, the study found the districts generally pay below-median salaries and wages. Compounding the problem on the classified staff level is Arizona Proposition 206, which has raised the minimum wage in stepladder fashion from $8.05 in 2016, when the proposition passed, to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1.

Between the minimum wage increases and salary freezes earlier in the decade, the districts have faced the problem of salary compression, where newly hired staff makes nearly the same wage as more tenured workers, or less skilled workers’ hourly wages are pushed to a level near those with more skills required.

HUSD adjusted its salary schedule last fall to address the issue, Martens said. Gilbert Public Schools acknowledged the salary compression issue in a statement, saying, “As a district, we continue to work diligently to address this issue in a fair and equitable manner.”

CUSD, with higher pay overall, used the study to restructure salaries for employees who are not administrators or teachers, Community Relations Director Terry Locke said.

GPS administrator salaries are in the 47th percentile among comparable districts, according to the study. HUSD will bring to its board in late January or early February a salary schedule proposal that would bring administrators and educational professionals, such as psychologists or occupational therapists, up to the 45th-50th percentile, Martens said.

Other stories to watch:

New CUSD school

Anticipating growth in the Val Vista Drive corridor—largely the district’s Gilbert portion—Chandler USD is constructing a new elementary school there. The school will be named at a Jan. 22 board meeting. Boundaries will be drawn this spring with construction being completed in July. The school is taking on the students from Weinberg Elementary School, which is being converted into a gifted education academy.

School safety grants

In 2019, the Arizona Legislature passed a budget that included $20 million to fund school grants for resource officers, counselors and social workers. However, after receiving applications from schools, the department of education has indicated the need is closer to $100 million. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is proposing an additional $38 million in his budget.
By Tom Blodgett

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


Platinum Living Realty opens Gilbert office

Platinum Living Realty, an independent luxury real estate brokerage firm, opened an office Jan. 1 in Gilbert

Disabled residents object to Gilbert's proposed paratransit service changes

Community members with disabilities and their family members said a proposal for Gilbert to shrink its paratransit offerings will greatly increase their transportation costs and shrink their world.

Gilbert Town Council, Jenn Daniels, Eddie Cook, Jared Taylor, Brigette Peterson, Scott Anderson, Aimee Yentes, Jordan Ray
Voters will decide who Eddie Cook’s long-term replacement on Gilbert Town Council will be

Gilbert Town Council accepted Eddie Cook’s resignation Feb. 18 and mapped out how the council member’s seat will be filled

Clean Juice at SanTan Village has new ownership

Clean Juice celebrated new ownership at its lone Arizona location Jan. 10 in the SanTan Village mall

Brown Chiropractic & Acupuncture expands to include naturopathy

Brown Chiropractic & Acupuncture added naturopathic services in January to its office in Gilbert

Vintage Home coming to Gilbert's Epicenter

Vintage Home will open in the Agritopia development when Epicenter opens in 2021

Val Vista Drive
Crews will remain busy with road construction along Val Vista Drive

Gilbert has three capital improvement projects planned for Val Vista Drive this year and another that comes up to it as well as private development work

Eddie Cook
Gilbert Town Council Member Eddie Cook appointed county assessor

Gilbert Town Council Member Eddie Cook was selected Feb. 14 to fill the vacant Maricopa County assessor’s position and will resign his council seat at the Feb. 18 council meeting

Karla Bonoff
On stage or at festival, plenty to do in Gilbert through the weekend

It's Valentine's Day weekend, and even if you are out with your valentine on the 14th, there is plenty more you can do on the weekend in Gilbert

Higley USD
Vaping referrals decline, but Higley USD looks to combat habit

Preventive efforts in Higley USD’s high schools and middle schools have resulted in a decline in referrals this school year, district officials told the governing board Feb. 12.

Starbucks opens new location at Higley and Queen Creek roads in Gilbert

A location of Starbucks opened Feb. 6 at 4865 S. Higley Road, Ste. 104, Gilbert.

Rockwell Ice Cream Co. opens a Gilbert location Feb. 10

The Rockwell Ice Cream Co.'s Gilbert store is the second location for a parlor in Provo, Utah

Back to top