Financially Embattled Murphy Elementary Board Votes Down 5% Teacher Pay Cut

By  Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 9:40am
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
A meeting-goer berates the Murphy Elementary School District governing board.

The board for the financially troubled Murphy Elementary School District in southwest Phoenix voted Monday not to decrease teachers’ pay by 5 percent.

It was chaotic as parents, teachers and community members shouted at the governing board when one member initially moved to table the agenda item.

Dozens spoke before the board’s vote, some asking the president to resign while others lamented how their children in the district were suffering because of high teacher turnover.

Like Angela Newingham.

"I have a 7th-grader and he's had three different teachers up until the holidays ended," she said. "Why are we doing something to make more teachers have more turnover, it doesn't make sense."

Up for vote was a 5 percent reduction in all district employees’ base salaries, plus a five-day furlough. Both were voted down.

This year, Murphy Elementary district overspent more than $2 million.

It was a meeting where the community members berated the board and superintendent for allowing the budget problems to become so dire that such cuts were needed.

After the no vote, Murphy fourth-grade teacher Michael Blazek was relieved, but said he feels more trust needs to be built between district leadership and the community.

“I would have liked there to be more communication prior to tonight. There was very little interaction between the superintendent and the staff as well as the superintendent and the community," Blazek said. So I think that needs to be something that’s really focused on going forward.”

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