Education standards, teachers and school buildings will be Gov. Janet Napolitano’s top three priorities this year, the governor’s education adviser said Tuesday.
Lauren Kielsmier, Napolitano’s policy adviser for education, talked to about 200 people at a Scottsdale Parent Council meeting Tuesday regarding the governor’s plans.
Napolitano’s budget proposal will include $50 million for increased teacher salaries, Kielsmier told the council, the parent group of the Scottsdale Unified School District. Of that, $25 million would go toward raising the minimum wage for teachers statewide to $33,000 annually and the other half would contribute to adjusting pay scales for teachers already making $33,000, she added.
The governor’s proposal will also include $10 million in incentive pay for math and science teachers and $4 million for teacher mentoring, Kielsmier said. Napolitano also wants to include $8.5 million for test reform and $2.5 million for math and science academies in the budget, she said.
The governor would also like to see the state require four years of math and three years of science for high school graduates and require students stay in school until age 18, she said.
The priorities reflect recommendations from the P-20 Council, a group formed in 2005 to look at education in Arizona from preschool through college, Kielsmier said.
Some of those recommendations involved increasing math and science requirements and making sure students were prepared for college or a career, said a P-20 Council member Amy Besing.
“Work force (development) and post-secondary education have effectively become the same,” Besing said.
Kielsmier’s comments were generally met with support, although there were some requests for the governor to look at other issues, too.
Parent Fransesca Thomas asked for attention to utility funding the state provides school districts to compensate for their high utility costs. The funding is scheduled to disappear in 2009. If the money is cut, Scottsdale would lose $5.9 million annually.