Do We Have an Impending Schools Crisis in Scottsdale? 30% of SUSD Staff Gone Since Start of ‘21

Graphic Credit: Independent Newsmedia

Just last week we talked about how highly Scottsdale was ranked as a place to raise a family. Well life comes at you fast as the saying goes, and this week we came across a new challenge that may damage our status in future related rankings.

According to the Scottsdale Independent, around 30% of SUSD’s staff has left for one reason or another since the beginning of January 2021. While obviously some turnover is natural and expected, this number of departures is obviously distressing on a number of levels and has some experts alarmed.

Some of this shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, it was only four years ago that tens of thousands of educators and allies descended on the state Capitol for days, attempting to make their voices heard about the state of education in Arizona. Per pupil spending is near the bottom of the country in our state, and while recent efforts to raise teacher salaries have been somewhat successful, no one would ever call teaching a lucrative profession in Arizona.

Also a factor that likely plays into this calculus is the cost of living spike here in Arizona. While the increases in pay have been somewhat noteworthy, they have not kept up with home prices and rent costs. If an educator didn’t already own a home, they weren’t likely to be in a position to buy one in the last year or two and would be beholden to the precipitous rent spikes. Clearly other areas that haven’t suffered through these issues to the same degree become more palatable destinations.

So what solutions are available? Nothing will be easy; after all, it certainly appears as though Governor Ducey expended a lot of political capital in order to get those pay raises through the legislature. Is their appetite for more of that? Possible but unlikely. If you regularly read us, you know that we believe in increasing housing supply as a way to drive down prices. While we hope for that, in the meantime rising interest rates and recessionary pressures may push prices down before that.

One thing is for certain though; this trend can’t continue for too long. The livability and future of Scottsdale is at stake, and we hope that Superintendent Menzel and our state’s leadership take this issue seriously and rectify it..