Update on TUSD Teacher Raises


Samantha Valdez, Opinions Editor

For the past few weeks, there has been a rumor that only teachers in the math, science, and special education departments will receive a pay raise: however, there was no confirmation that this is actually going to happen. On April 19, I finally received an email response from Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo, who confirmed that the alleged plan is true.

Trujillo pointed out the justification for this was because these classes were in fact hard to fill positions multiple times. He wrote, “We justify this money going to SPED, Math, and Science teachers because of the shortage of highly qualified teachers in these areas.  Every year, these subjects have the highest percentage of substitute teachers in the district and that hurts our students.” The superintendent also stated that he knew the main downside is teachers in other fields would feel angry and discontent, but he countered the idea with, “The biggest advantage we see is the retention of Math, Science, and SPED teachers on a year to year basis. We lose fewer teachers from the district because of the stipend.”

His response to teachers in other departments who may feel demoralized about the $3000 stipend only going to three departments was, “Teachers in any area have the right to attain the necessary certification to earn stipends in these areas.  In fact, we have a program called “Make the Move” where we actually pay for any teacher to get his/her certification in Special Education in addition to the stipend that the teacher would get for working with Special Education students.” Needless to say, this was not a satisfactory response for most teachers.

At the end of the email Mr. Trujillo said, “I make decisions in the best interests of our student body, and sometimes the adults, teachers, and employees don’t support each decision I make.  Offering more money to teachers in the most difficult subject areas with the highest amount of teacher vacancies reduces the chances of our students having substitute teachers in these crucial areas. So this was a tough decision as I know many teachers in other areas like PE, English, and other electives feel left out.” This was all the information given to me from the superintendent, but teachers continue to talk about feeling demoralized as an educator and disrespected completely.

Throughout Sahuaro, excluded teachers are infuriated and disappointed at this decision, many teachers have admitted to be looking for jobs in other districts where they will receive better pay. “Like I said before, why would I work somewhere where I’m told I’m not valued?” commented a Sahuaro teacher. Another said, “What happened with the 20% raise that we were supposed to receive, the five percent this year and then the five percent the year after? What happened to that?” Many teachers agree that in the near future it will become harder to find teachers in all the subjects that have been left out of this new policy and it will be the same article all over again. Teachers also have a lot of questions: What is going to happen with our promised raise? Will you try to include all other subjects in the future? If we’re not going to be included, how will the pay raise work, will the teachers receiving bonuses not have as high a raise as the other teachers?

It has been confirmed teachers in the Math, Science, and Special ED departments will be receiving a $3,000 raise.  No other information was given by Trujillo.