Proposal Would Give Experienced Arizona Teachers A College Tuition Discount

Published: Monday, February 11, 2019 - 1:23pm
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Arizona has a teacher shortage — and has had one for at least a few years now.

Earlier this year, the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association’s survey found within the districts that replied, more than 20 percent of teacher vacancies statewide were still open, and that more than 900 teachers had left their jobs in the first half of the school year.

In an effort to try to stem that tide, Arizona Rep. Randy Friese is proposing an Experienced Teacher Retention Pilot Program. With House Bill 2525, the Tucson Democrat wants to offer certified public school teachers who’ve been in the classroom for at least three years the chance to get an advanced degree.

His bill would offer a 75 percent tuition reduction at the state’s three public universities. Teachers who took part in the program would then owe the state three more years in public schools. For those teachers who’ve been in the classroom for a decade, their families would also be eligible for the reduced tuition.

The Show spoke with Friese earlier about his proposal.

The bill would allocate $2.5 million in the first year, eventually ramping up to $10 million by the fifth year of the pilot program.

To talk more about whether this kind of program could be effective at dealing with the state’s teacher shortage, The Show also spoke with Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children Arizona.

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