PHOENIX — Hiral Tipirneni admitted Sunday morning that she opposes Governor Doug Ducey’s plan to give a 20 percent pay raise to teachers in Arizona.
Governor Ducey recently announced the plan, which will provide a 20 percent pay increase to teachers across to state by the 2020 school year. That includes an immediate 10 percent salary increase at the beginning of the Fall 2018 school year and an additional five percent for each of the two school years after that.
Tipirneni, a Democrat running for the open seat in Arizona’s eighth congressional district, made the admission that she opposes it during an appearance on KSAZ’s “Newsmaker Sunday.”
When asked about Governor Ducey’s plan and whether he should “be given a chance” to solve the issue of teacher pay, the Democrat responded that she was aware of the “recent effort by our governor to propose salary raises” but dismissed the idea as too “quick and dirty.”
“I don’t think you can throw this sort of quick and dirty solution at it and think it’s going to fly,” Tipirneni said.
The Arizona Democratic Party, Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia, and the union boss backing them said that they oppose the plan as well, a decision that was mocked in the press as a knee-jerk display of partisanship. The union has long pushed for a statewide teacher strike, and, despite teachers receiving a 20 percent pay increase, the union said that it will move forward with a strike regardless.
Families did not react well to the walk-out that closed several schools last month. One parent complained that “it takes away from the kids” and that her son would suffer from “the repercussion” of the decision. A grandmother who looked after her grandchildren agreed, saying, “It bothers me a lot.”
The plan, currently being debated in the state legislature, has garnered significant support from education advocates and business organizations across the state. The Governor’s Office created a new page on its website touting support from teachers, superintendents, and other school officials, too.
Debbie Lesko, a former state senator and the Republican running against Tipirneni in the U.S. House race, called Governor Ducey’s 20 percent pay raise plan “a fair proposal,” adding: “I really hope the teachers don’t walk out because that’s going to hurt the students.”