SALC Issues Statement Backing Governor’s Teacher Raise Proposal

SALC Issues Statement Backing Governor’s Teacher Raise Proposal

Calls the move ‘A step in the right direction we can all get behind’

TUCSON, AZ (April 17, 2018) — Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), comprised of 140 CEOs and leaders in the region, supports Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to provide a much-deserved 20-percent pay increase for teachers in Arizona by 2020.

The plan, which is now being negotiated in the legislature, would represent an initial significant step toward adequately compensating Arizona’s valued educators. SALC members believe that attracting, retaining and rewarding qualified teachers is critical to ensuring continued economic growth and prosperity in our state.

The salary boost is proposed to be funded in three ways – through increased revenues from Arizona’s flourishing economy; by a rollback of several of the Governor’s executive initiatives and proposed tax cuts; and as a result of savings and efficiencies from state programs. As the legislature works with the Governor to make this proposal a reality, we urge using the proposed available revenue sources and not to divert funding from current commitments to the P-20 education pipeline.

Our state’s future workforce depends on high-quality educators and a robust, fully-funded education system. SALC strongly encourages our state legislators to partner with the Governor on this plan which is a step toward full funding for Arizona’s teachers.

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About Southern Arizona Leadership Council

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council was founded in 1997 by senior business and community leaders in the Tucson region. Its goal is to use the collective leadership of its members to engage strategic issues facing the community. The mission of SALC is to improve greater Tucson and Arizona by bringing together resources and leadership to create action to enhance the economic climate and quality of life in our communities to attract, retain, and grow high-quality, high-wage jobs. For more information visit

Maxwell and McFarlin: Education reform begins with all of us

SALC President Ted Maxwell and Arizona Town Hall Board Member Suzanne McFarlin wrote about the disconnect between Arizonans believing in the investment in education and those making policy decisions at the legislature. Tucsonans joined other citizens at community town halls in recent months and attended the 110th Arizona Town Hall on funding Pre K – 12 education last November. They voiced a strong core of quality, well-funded education prevents people in need for food or public assistance

Read their six suggestions on the Arizona Daily Star for how to make a difference in improving the education in Arizona.

Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance Support Gov. Ducey’s Education Funding Plan

PHOENIX, AZ, Jan. 15, 2018 – Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), and Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance (NALA) have been involved in reviewing education funding alternatives and have joined with others in identifying the need for a statewide plan to address our P-20 educational system needs, addressing funding, accountability and reform.

In Monday’s State of the State address, Gov. Doug Ducey committed to accelerate state investment in our schools. On Tuesday he introduced a plan to restore funding to our schools after years of Recession-era cuts. As leaders of Arizona’s premier CEO business associations, we stand in full support of Gov. Ducey’s plan and commit to work alongside him and the State Legislature to make these and other funding priorities a reality.

The full restoration of $371 million in District Additional Assistance and Charter Additional Assistance is a welcome step toward restoring school funding formulas that experienced deep cuts during the great recession. The re-investment of permanent and flexible dollars beginning next school year will enable schools to direct more resources to teacher salaries. Additionally, an enhanced investment for building maintenance will free up even more classroom revenue previously redirected for capital expenses.

We commend Gov. Ducey for honoring his commitment to increase state investment in K-12 education and for managing the K-12 funding challenges facing our state. The FY 2019 Executive Education Budget proposal builds a solid foundation of funding with the infusion of $400 million in additional resources for K-12 education. The plan directs new resources to respond to student growth, building renewal, teacher salaries, early literacy, computer science, and Career and Technical Education—all areas worthy of increased investment that are contributing to positive outcomes for Arizona students.

GPL, SALC and NALA also remain committed to renewing the existing Proposition 301 education funding stream, which terminates in 2021, and to adding more funding focused on areas of priority into our educational system in Arizona.

We appreciate the Governor’s leadership in recognizing that our needs are great and taking decisive action to direct new resources to where they can be most effective. As Arizona’s education system continues to make strides, our business and economic prospects grow and produce a better quality of life for all Arizonans.

We look forward to supporting the items outlined in Gov. Ducey’s education budget and working with legislators and other stakeholders to put his plan into action.

Startup Licenses University of Arizona Technology That Shortens Cancer Cell Life

TUCSON, Ariz.­– The University of Arizona licensed a drug to startup Reglagene that aims to shorten cancer cells’ lives in days. The innovation derived from the UA College of Pharmacy and the UA BIO5 Institute by Laurence Hurley, PhD, and Vijay Gokhale, PhD.

The invention to shorten the lives of targeted cells is effective because the process rapidly ages cancer cells until they die. Tech Launch Arizona worked to protect intellectual property, develop start-up strategy and license the technology to the company.

“Our laboratory has developed the underlying technology for a number of drugs that have reached phase I/II clinical trials,” Dr. Hurley said. “This is by far the most exciting technology we have a developed during our 40 years of research.”

Gene expression is typically controlled by molecular switches called C- and G- Quadruplexes, where the licensed drug will target these “on” and “off” switches. Similar technologies take several months to exert an effect in cancer cell­– time cancer patients do not have.

Learn more about this innovation here.

Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy

The 2018 Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy is now accepting applications to select 35 Arizonans to become a Flinn-Brown Fellows.

The tuition-free program begins with a 12-session seminar series to help experienced leaders succeed in Arizona state government. These leaders are expected to become:

  • elected officials;
  • agency executives;
  • members of boards and commissions; or
  • policy advisors

Applications are being accepted through Monday, Nov. 13. Visit this URL for more details:


No on Prop 204 Campaign

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council urges you to vote “no” on Prop 204. The No on Prop 204 campaign launched last week with a series of radio and television spots opposing Strong Start Tucson’s initiative.

SALC Vice President Shelley Watson joined other business leaders of the Tucson community to voice their opposition.

SALC’s reasons for opposition can be found in the original post, here.

Covered media:


Webinar: What’s Driving Tucson’s Economy?

Join MAP Dashboard’s inaugural MAP Talk on October 27 to find out what’s driving Tucson’s economy: residents, last year’s income, added jobs, etc. In the webinar, expect to learn what industries are contributing to the city’s growth and why Tucson isn’t growing as fast as peer metropolitan areas.

MAP Talks are webinars featuring Jennifer Pullen (MAP Dashboard coordinator) and George Hammond (EBRC Director). Attendees will gain new knowledge about the Tucson economy and learn how to use the Dashboard to understand the latest trends and benchmark progress.

MAP Talks will last 30 minutes with time for Q&A at the end and we anticipate new MAP Talks approximately every other month. Webinar spots are limited to 50 participants, register here.

Four Southern Arizonans named 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellows

The following individuals were named 2017 Flinn-Brown Fellows to take part in the Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy:

  • Zachary Brooks, special projects for the University of Arizona’s Office of Global Initiatives
  • Mike Holmes, operations program manager for Pima County Attractions and Tourism
  • JP Martin, executive director of Global Chamber-Tucson
  • Anita Simons, administrative law judge for the Arizona Department of Transportation Executive Hearing Office

The Fellows share a commitment to state-level public service and leadership, and the network functions as a support system for the Fellows as they pursue state-level roles.

The Flinn Foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as two other program areas to help build Arizona’s knowledge-driven economy: the Flinn Scholars Program and the arts in Arizona.

SALC Opposes Prop. 204, recommends “no” vote on Strong Start Tucson initiative

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), the area’s key CEO and community leader group, today announced its board of directors recommends a “no” vote on Proposition 204, Strong Start Tucson, which will appear on the November 2017 city ballot.

“SALC carefully reviews every initiative to ensure it is the most effective and efficient way to achieve its goal, especially when it uses limited public resources,” said Ted Maxwell, president of SALC. “We find that Proposition 204, despite its good intentions, fails to meet that test.”

Throughout its 20-year history, SALC has been a champion for education in Arizona, taking a leadership role in passing a statewide early childhood initiative, Prop. 203, First Things First, or the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative.

“SALC remains a staunch advocate for impactful funding and support for educating all the children of our region and state,” Maxwell added. “But Proposition 204 does not meet this goal and we urge voters to vote ‘no’.”

SALC cited specific issues with the Strong Start Tucson initiative:

  • Poor governance structure – The Mayor and Council would form a commission to design the program and designate a non-profit agency to operate it, with the City having no direct authority over a program it is being required to fund.
  • Lack of detailed program definition – With no specific guidelines, definitions or directives on the scholarship program itself in Prop. 204, the appointed commission will be responsible for creating specifics including eligibility, reimbursements, and provider standards.
  • Eligibility limited to City residents only – Not a single school district would have complete eligibility coverage for its Pre-K students because all district boundaries are both inside and outside the City limits.
  • Inability to meet demand – The initiative seeks to provide 8,500 children with tuition assistance for high-quality pre-kindergarten and raises $50 million yearly to do so. But that capacity of providers and early-education teachers does not exist today and would take years to develop if even possible.
  • Inappropriate scale and tax burden –The proposed tax rate far exceeds, up to four times, those of similar programs in communities cited by the initiative. Additionally, the tax has no sunset or end date; it is permanent. When combined with the City’s sales tax increase earlier this year, passage of Prop 204 will result in a 50% increase in the City of Tucson sales tax rate in 2017.
  • Passage jeopardizes other state and local priorities – Perhaps most important, increasing the sales tax burden in the City of Tucson makes it less likely that City voters would support upcoming public-investment needs of greater impact at the local, regional and state levels.

Tucson Values Teachers Elects New CEO, COO

Katie Rogerson
Colleen Niccum

Tucson Values Teachers (TVT) board of directors has elected Tucson business leader and its founding board chair, Colleen Niccum, as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Katie Rogerson, TVT’s interim executive director, as Chief Operating Officer (COO).
“These new roles align TVT leadership with its key business partners and funders and reflects the level of importance we place on working together to improve education by ensuring quality teachers for every Southern Arizona classroom,” said Marian Salzman, TVT’s outgoing executive chair who will continue as a board member and chair of its Development Committee. During her two-year volunteer tenure, Salzman instituted the first statewide teacher satisfaction survey and shared the results at a high profile community forum called Let’s Talk Ed: Teacher Workforce that drew national, state and local business, education and community leaders. She also brought innovative changes to TVT programs, including a large-scale cash card giveaway that delivered $238,000 worth of supplies to help teachers fund classroom expenses.
“TVT has been instrumental in shining the light on the teacher workforce crisis faced by the state while providing tangible benefits to support teachers working in Southern Arizona classrooms,” Niccum said. “We are pleased to see that the issues impacting teachers have been elevated to a top priority by the governor, the Arizona Department of Education and key education and business groups across the state, and look forward to helping lead efforts to drive statewide improvements.”
Niccum previously served as the vice president of Education Policy for the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), which established TVT, where she was responsible for supporting the education agenda of SALC’s 140 CEOs and business leaders who recognize the critical role education plays in the economic prosperity of a community. Prior to joining SALC, she retired with a 30-year career as a communications executive from Raytheon Company. Niccum was the founding board chair of TVT and was instrumental in working with the UA College of Education to create Teachers in Industry, one of TVT’s signature programs. She also serves on the board of directors of Expect More Arizona and the University of Arizona College of Education advisory board.
Katie Rogerson served as TVT’s interim executive director, and director of marketing and outreach. As COO, Rogerson will manage operations and lead TVT’s signature programs and initiatives. Rogerson brings 16 years of nonprofit management expertise to her role, and serves on the UA College of Education’s Professional Preparation Board and the Arizona Department of Education’s Educator Retention Task Force. Rogerson previously held positions in: Arts Integration Solutions, Opening Minds through the Arts, , and KXCI Community Radio as the former president and long-time board member.. Rogerson is also a 2014 “40-Under-40” honoree and a member of the Greater Tucson Leadership Class of 2017.
“We look forward to expanding our work and impact in ways that aid districts and schools in attracting and retaining teachers, while supporting efforts to address teacher pay and other issues that impact teacher turnover rates,” Rogerson said.
Findings from TVT’s 2014 Teacher Workforce Survey point to a number of critical factors that are fueling Arizona’s teacher crisis. Arizona teachers are among the nation’s lowest paid, with those in Tucson earning up to 32 percent less than the national median. Less than half reported “satisfaction” with their teaching career, and only one in five would recommend teaching as a career. Turnover rates continue to be high with more than 50 percent leaving the field in the first five years. This year, Arizona schools reported more than 2,000 vacant teaching positions at the start of the school year, according to the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association.
“We credit the work of TVT for today’s heightened awareness of the challenges faced by Arizona’s teachers and will continue working to ensure that our state becomes a magnet for the best teachers in the nation,” said Ron Shoopman, SALC CEO, founding TVT board member and Arizona Board of Regents member. “SALC remains committed to the success of TVT in this endeavor.”