Arizona school employees want more education funding, plan statewide walkout next week

Vote on possible teacher walk-out to be announced later tonight

Noah Karvelis, an elementary school music teacher and the founder of Arizona Educators United, said he was sympathetic to the disruption that widespread school closings would cause students and parents. Thursday, he said they will walk out.

The Arizona Education Association and the grass-roots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26. "This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action". But Thomas opened a door to avoiding the walkout.

Thomas said it starts with legislators refusing to enact future tax cuts and rescinding some of those that have been granted during the past decade, including a 30 percent cut in corporate income tax rates. "We've sent two letters to the governor [seeking a meeting] and we've heard absolutely nothing". "And that's what we're calling on them to do by Thursday, is meet us at the demands". The walk-out announcement comes after weeks of walk-ins-as teachers across the state mobilized behind the #RedforEd movement-and follows a promise by the state's Republican governor to raise educator pay 20 percent by 2020.

Ms. Dominguez, 27, earns $38,250 per year, and says that because of low education budgets, she has had to pay out of pocket, or raise money from private donors, to buy her students science supplies, chairs and snacks.

Asked by a reporter what the group would do if the governor and legislature resisted the teachers' demands, as they had done throughout the 10-day strike by Oklahoma teachers, AEU leader Karvelis could not answer, saying instead, "I'm focusing on what we can do in this legislative session".

Earlier this week, education advocates spoke in support of Ducey's proposal at a press conference at the State Capitol in Phoenix sponsored by Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Arizona Rural Schools Association, Arizona School Boards Association, Arizona School Administrators, Education Finance Reform Group, East Valley Institute of Technology and the JTED Consortium. Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars now than it did in 2008.

"We are truly in a state of crisis right now", Karvelis said.

Ducey has not provided details of how he plans to fund the raises over the long-term.

But the teachers have some good questions, such as, where will the money come from?

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The Arizona PTA said when it first looked at the governor's proposal, it was in line with PTA priorities.

The legislature was expected to begin debating the governor's proposal this week, and would have to vote on any plan.

Arizona teachers have voted to walk out, group organizers said Thursday night. Communities supporting the strike, such as parent-teacher associations, plan to prepare meals for kids who won't be in school.

Save Our Schools Arizona, an educators advocacy organisation, said they stand with teachers and "will continue to fight for public education because in order to have a strong state, we need strong schools". Meanwhile, teacher workload has grown as support staffs have shrunk and student-teacher ratios have climbed. As a result, that allows the Board to revoke a person's teaching certificate.

Many will model their efforts off the lessons shared by West Virginia educators, whose nine-day strike inspired a prairie fire of educator actions. Many high school students are walking out today to mark the anniversary of the Columbine school massacre, and as part of nationwide protests against mass shootings.

"We have crumbling school infrastructure here right now". However, if we have too few staff members to safely hold school, we may be forced to closed schools.

Districts are still planning on what to do in the event of school closures.

If schools were closed due to any possible strike, the school year would be extended to make up the days, DVUSD said in an FAQ about the situation.

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