Arizona teachers back at state Capitol before new budget vote

Arizona teachers back at state Capitol before new budget vote”

Leaders had said Tuesday night that teachers would return to work Thursday if the Legislature has passed the budget by then.

Ducey tweeted late in the day April 27, "It's official: We have a deal!" The funding plan includes a proposal to increase teacher salaries that was spearheaded by Gov. Doug Ducey and opposed by the so-called #RedforEd movement.

There's a long way to get to that point, with legislative budget staffers pegging state aid now at $4,760.

The budget contains some items created to garner support from conservative Republicans, after the governor and GOP leaders bypassed minority Democrats to get the deal done.

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.

As budget negotiations stretched on Wednesday, however, several school districts walked back the hopeful announcements they had released earlier in the day. Additional information on events that have been rescheduled will be updated and available on our website at

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"We won't improve K-12 education until we get rid of Doug Ducey", Farley wrote in a statement celebrating AFT's endorsement.

Protests in the state were part of a national teacher action that began in West Virginia and spread to other Republican-controlled states, including Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Ducey, who is seeking re-election and faced the wrath of teachers for pushing tax cuts while the state's teacher pay and school funding remains among the lowest in the nation, also will likely declare victory. "We just can't trust him".

Teachers started the Red for Ed walkout April 26, and most schools will still be closed on May 2. We marched and we rallied. "The truth is we have a really supportive community. When the governor and his friends at the Capitol had a chance to meet with us they left town".

"We here in Arizona have banded together as educators, we've set up a grassroots movement with 1,700 schools involved, 1,700 liaisons, and if we're ever called to come back we will come back together and we'll come back stronger", middle school teacher Scott Gebbie said. Glendale parent Donna Brinkman asked. School funding has not increased in the state since cuts were made during the Great Recession.

Others wondered how long the walk-out would continue and how it was starting to affect them personally.

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"I think that they had a promise from us that we were going to do something", House Majority Leader John Allen said. Other districts have said they may be able to make up missed time by adding hours to existing days, instead of adding days to the school year.

"We are not slowing down, but there is a certain amount of paperwork and staff work that is going on behind the scenes", Mesnard said before calling the recess.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said the delay is not on objective.

On the floor of the state House, Minority Leader, Rep. Rebecca Rios called Ducey's budget a "shell game".

Lawmakers were also questioning the governor's plan, with most saying they wanted to see specifics before committing to a vote. A vote had been expected Wednesday, but that appears to be delayed as lawmakers consider amendments.

Hearings began Tuesday on a state budget proposal that will help fund 10 percent raises for educators next year and make the first payment toward restoring almost $400 million slashed from school building and maintenance budgets following the Great Recession.

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