Amid a nationwide debate about teacher salaries, a Phoenix-area teacher shared her salary, and her frustration, on social media.
Whispering Winds Academy teacher Elisabeth Milich posted a photo of her salary on Facebook. Her salary is $35,490 per year.
She works for the Paradise Valley Unified School District.
Milich posted the photo after seeing her expected pay raise for taking professional-development courses.
"This is my new pay after taking a few professional development classes," stated Milich in the post. "I actually laughed when I saw the old salary vs. the new one. I mean really, I need a college degree to make this? I paid 80,000 for a college degree, I then paid several hundred more to transfer my certification to Az."
Milich's pay stub showed she will make an additional $131 next year.
"I just posted it to bring awareness," said Milich. "When you see it in black and white and you see what your raise is, it is just laughable."
Last week, thousands of Arizona teachers and education advocates participated in the #RedForEd movement — wearing red to protest the low pay they say has contributed to a shortage of qualified teachers in the state.
The movement was in response to West Virginia teachers striking for higher pay.
"My hope is that our state takes a hard look at this crisis. There are vacancies all over the state because they can't find teachers," Milich said.
The median salary for Arizona elementary school teachers in 2016, adjusted for cost of living, was $42,474, a 2017 analysis by Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy found. The median salary for high school teachers was $47,890.
Here's a breakdown of 2016 elementary school teacher salaries adjusted for cost of living:
50: Arizona, $42,474.
49: Oklahoma, $43,192
48: Florida, $46,653.
45: Colorado, $47,413.
40: West Virginia, $50,956.
36: Indiana, $52,701.
28: Utah, $54,814.
27: Nevada, $55,582.
26: Texas, $55,930.
19: New Mexico, $59,047.
9: Oregon, $62,621.
7: California, $65,370.
2: Connecticut, $70,156.
1: Rhode Island, $70,486.
Reactions to the Facebook post have been mixed. Some people have been supportive and shared their own stories, others have criticized the post.
"I have a lot of people bashing or being critical of the fact that teachers only work for 9 months," said Milich. "People just don't understand what all goes into teaching."
Despite a 1 percent pay increase approved by the Legislature last year, and an infusion of cash from ballot measure Proposition 123, teacher pay in Arizona remains among the lowest in the nation.
"I am proud to be a teacher," said Milich. "I am not proud to be a teacher in Arizona."