State auditors in Arizona say money intended for rewarding good teachers is instead being spent on regular teacher salaries and other costs.
Auditors estimate districts could be spending an average of 60 percent on the classroom, but instead spend money on counselors, administrative salaries, and other nonclassroom costs.
School officials say the audit is flawed because it did not take into account cuts to the state’s education budget. Administrators maintain they are not misusing any funds earmarked for teacher pay.
Chuck Essigs, a lobbyist for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, said spending voter-approved dollars meant for performance pay on regular teacher pay is not illegal because the money is still going for teacher salaries.
Voters approved spending state money on teacher performance pay in 2000.
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A version of this article appeared in the March 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as Audit Asserts Teacher-Pay Funds Are Being Misspent in Arizona