Financial Accountability

How do our district and charter schools spend our money?

Despite public perception, district and charter schools are subject to the same Arizona Department of Education reporting requirements. The state Auditor General audits district schools but charter schools must submit audits to the State Board of Charter Schools. Another difference is that charters are private businesses and can choose to spend money in ways that a district school may not be able to. However, both types of schools must live within their funding.

Financial Audits

School districts are audited by the Arizona Auditor General. Audit reports may be found at AZ Auditor General School District Reports.

Charter school and charter holder oversight is the responsibility of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools rather than the of the Auditor General. Here is the helpfile for how to search for charter holder audit reports. It's a bit tricky, so follow the instructions exactly.

Arizona Department of Education

The Superintendent's Annual Financial Report (SAFR) includes data on all district and charter schools. Volume I includes state-level information. Volume II includes individual district and charter breakdowns. 2017 SAFR.


AZ Dept of Ed School Finance Reports for district and charter schools. These reports should include the past year's performance and the next year's budget. (Unfortunately we cannot find a link to past years' reports - this link is for the 2018 reports which are not due until October 1. )

Teacher & Staff Pay

Average teacher salaries in the school districts can be found in the Auditor General's report. Following are the highest and lowest paying districts in Arizona:

Highest Maricopa county average teacher salaries (and what they would be with a 20 percent raise):

  1. Phoenix Union High School District- $62,782 ($75,338)
  2. Arlington Elementary School District- $59,751 ($71,701)
  3. Glendale Union High School District- $58,687 ($70,424)
  4. Alhambra Elementary School District- $58,362 ($70,034)
  5. Cartwright Elementary School District- $57,515 ($69,018)

Lowest Maricopa county average teacher salaries (and what they would be with a 20 percent raise):

  1. Gila Bend Unified School District- $37,012 ($44,414)
  2. Riverside Elementary School District- $37,360 ($44,832)
  3. Buckeye Elementary School District- $37,778 ($45,334)
  4. Littleton Elementary School District- $38,911 ($46,693)
  5. Creighton Elementary School District- $40,106 ($48,127)

2018-2019 Gilbert Public Schools salary schedule. Support staff pay grades are here; the pay rates are in the salary schedule.

Some charter schools list teacher pay on their websites, but not all do.

After the 20 by 2020 plan proposed by Gov. Ducey and approved by the Arizona Legislature in May 2018, the Arizona Tax Research Association provided this information:

Teacher Pay Update 

o    20% increase over 3 years jumps AZ average pay rank from #40 to #16 

o    Using NEA data, AZ avg pay projects to ~$56,600 

o    This rank is adjusted for cost of living (COLI), unadjusted rank would be #26 

o    Assumes every other state grows pay 2% in each of the 3 years 

What Happened to Teacher Pay? is a report from the Arizona Tax Research Association published prior to the 20 by 2020 teacher pay raises, but it provides very good background.