Arizona teachers back at the Capitol as walkout continues

Arizona Teachers Say They'll Go Back To School If Budget Is Passed

Rebecca Garelli, another Arizona Educators United Organizer, said she was proud of "the powerful movement we have created". They reportedly gave up their strike and will return to work Thursday.

The Arizona Senate and House have begun debating a $10.4 billion state budget plan providing more than $300 million for raises for numerous state's striking teachers.

While the budget deal proposed by Gov. DougDucey and state lawmakers falls short of the teachers' demands, Arizona teachers said Tuesday that they would end the strike this week if the plan was passed.

Leaders with AEU and the state's teacher union, the Arizona Education Association, said Tuesday they were ready to accept the budget and head back to school - even if they were not particularly satisfied with it.

The bill allocates more than $600 million for salary increases, meaning teachers would get raises of almost 10 percent this year and about 5 percent in each of the following two years. They could have worked over the weekend to get it done. Other proposals would add more guidance counselors and spell out that support staff, left out of the teacher raise, would be entitled to a 10 percent pay hike.

Townsend, a critic of the #RedForEd effort, later updated her post, saying she didn't mean to imply that lawmakers will be at the Capitol until Saturday.




Arizona lawmakers appeared set to pull an all-nighter to pass a $10.4 billion state budget plan that provides more than $300 million for raises for numerous state's striking teachers. And a top Republican lawmaker gave teachers credit for keeping the pressure on.

He said he wants voters to pass a measure called the Invest in Education Act that would have $750 million for education. "Our track record of delivering that promise has not always been ideal, so I don't think they wasted their time".

It said the plan restores cuts to increase school funding, and includes money for discretionary spending for either pay increases, curriculum or infrastructure - all without raising taxes. He noted that Ducey announced his teacher pay plan on April 12, a week before the vote by Arizona Educators United and the Arizona Education Association to strike. From its beginnings in West Virginia, it spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and most recently Colorado. Two-thirds of Arizona's student population was still out of school through Tuesday, though some districts began opening their doors.

"They don't trust the Legislature, " Thomas said.

"It bothers me a lot, but we'll be back in November and we'll be doing a lot of work between now and then getting the people in who will support education and will stop these tax cuts, and we will have the money", said Sarah Barrett, an early childhood special education teacher in Mesa, who said her school doesn't have the money to fix its air conditioning. He said when he called off school for the fourth day in a row, he received more "angry communications" from parents than he had last week. "If more is the answer, I don't see how we'll get there". Thomas said he's confident that educators and their supporters will remain mobilized. "It does not restore the more than $1 billion taken from our students and it leaves out school support staff like counselors, bus drivers, librarians, and many more who are vital to the success of our students". "They understand that there are people down here who do not care as much about students as they care".

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