Teachers' Union President Deletes Tweet Endorsing Republican's School Funding Plan

Teachers' Union President Deletes Tweet Endorsing Republican's School Funding Plan

IT

The House was continuing to debate the budget package as sunrise approached Thursday morning but passage was assured.

About 2:30 p.m. MT Wednesday, organizers with Arizona Educators United called on teachers to be at the Capitol on Thursday. The Arizona Republic reports that as of this writing, more than a dozen districts had announced they would be canceling classes Thursday.

Ducey announced April 27 that he had secured a deal with lawmakers giving him the votes to secure a budget deal that would give Arizona teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020.

They're also pushing lawmakers for other considerations such as a 10 percent raise for support staff.

Gabriel Trujillo, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District, the second-largest in the state, said he doesn't support the walkout because it takes teachers out of classrooms.

Gov. Doug Ducey had already proposed a plan for a 20 percent teacher pay raise over the next four years, a deal that teachers felt was insufficient because it did not address general school funding needs or other teacher demands, including better pay for classified staff. Ducey's proposal also leads to cuts from other programs, including the Arizona Commission for the Arts, and teachers said they worry that it could be a promise not kept.

Walkout organizers have said the duration of the statewide walkout will depend on "the response from the Legislature and educators". Strike leaders had called for an end to the walkout if the budget passed Wednesday.

Many schools plan to re-open Thursday, and it remains unclear if the developments at the Capitol will change that.

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state legislature worked through the night to pass the $10.4 billion budget, while outside, hundreds of red-clad teachers rallied overnight, local media reported.

Teachers have demanded states reverse constraints on salary and funding that were imposed when tax revenues ran short during the USA recession that ended in 2009.

The bill was approved Wednesday afternoon with support only from majority Republicans.

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During the news conference Tuesday, Noah Karvelis, one of the leaders of the movement, said the budget does not do enough.

Karvelis said the budget still leaves the #RedForEd movement far short of its original goals.

The Arizona Senate has passed a $10.4 billion state budget plan that provides more than $300 million in raises for numerous state's striking teachers after working all night.

The striking teachers said they felt they received support from their school district administrations.

He said it was "goofy" to think that anyone was stalling the process. The offer set for debate and likely passage by late Wednesday was announced two weeks before teachers walked out last Thursday, and remains substantially unchanged.

On Tuesday, the ad-hoc group and the Arizona Education Association told teachers to return to work Thursday if the budget is passed.

Red-clad teachers chanted the name of their national movement, "Red For Ed", outside the state capitol in Phoenix for a fifth day to keep up pressure for their demands.

The action came after a weeklong teachers' strike that shut down school for most of the state's 1.1 million public school students.

But it does provide salary increases and other additional education funding.

Lawmakers did tweak it with changes to the rosy economic projections Ducey relied on to make funding more sustainable.

  • Kyle Warner