During the nationwide outrage and protests over teacher pay, one Phoenix, Arizona, second-grade teacher decided to post her pay stub to raise the question: Is it enough?
“I absolutely love seeing kids engaged and learning,” said Elisabeth Milich, who teaches second grade at Whispering Wind Academy.
While she loves teaching, Milich said she could never do it without her husband’s second income. To illustrate the point, she decided last week to post her annual salary in an image of her pay stub on Facebook, television station KNXV in Phoenix reported.
“The reality is without my husband’s income I could NEVER be an educator in this state!” she wrote. “I’m sad for my single mom teacher friends working 3 jobs to make ends meet! Something must be done.”
Milich makes about $35,490 per year. That works out to $639 bi-weekly after taxes and health care for her family is taken out.
She noted that the 1998 “issue date” in the photo refers to when she got her teaching certificate, not when the pay stub was dated.
“The reality has set in with this state that if you did not have spousal support or somebody else subsidizing your income you could not live on the salary teachers are paid in this state,” said Milich.
That reality and a line she heard recently from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey prompted her to speak out.
“Our teacher pay last year went up 4.4 percent to an average teacher pay of $48,000. Now that’s not enough,” Gov. Ducey told KTAR radio this week.
Milich’s raise for next year falls well short of that, she says.
Her pay stub projects she will make $131 more next year, and that’s only because she took 60 hours of professional development classes. Her salary after seven years of teaching in Arizona is also $13,000 below Ducey’s claim for the average.
“I don’t know who they’re talking about,” said Milich, referring to the state’s stats on teacher pay. “Because … I see my printout. And I can’t tell you how many hundreds of teachers have said mine looks exactly like that.”
Ducey has said the money available for teacher pay is up 9 percent since 2015.