Arizona Teachers Vote to Support a Walk Out Featured font size +

Saturday, 21 Apr, 2018

Noah Karvelis, an elementary school music educator and Arizona Educators United's founder, said he was sympathetic to the disturbance that faculty closings would lead parents and students.

School districts across the state are preparing for a possible walk-out by communicating with parents this week about whether classes would be canceled or not, whether bus service would be provided, what provisions there would be for breakfast and lunch, and what would happen if teachers walked out after the school day began.

"This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action", says Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association.

"If they feel like they can not afford in their personal financial household to walk out, then they should follow their heart, " Simek said. "We've sent two letters to the governor [seeking a meeting] and we've heard absolutely nothing".

Less clear is how quickly lawmakers and the governor could act on the demands - assuming they want to - and where they would get the money.

The organizers say they are confident school superintendents and school boards will support their effort.

The results of the grassroots Arizona Educators United and state teachers' union walkout vote came exactly one week after Ducey announced a proposal to boost Arizona teachers' pay 20% by 2020.

"Every single day, every single student in Arizona is being underfunded", Karvelis said.

Arizona teachers voted for a statewide walkout next week, escalating their push for higher pay and increased school funding.

Ducey's proposal has the support of several business groups.

Finally there is the question of whether the money will be there.

When more details emerged about the strategy of paying for salary increases without raising taxes, both Arizona PTA and Save Our Schools switched their positions and now do not support the plan. The also said Ducey rejected their request to oppose new tax cuts until teacher salaries reach the national median, with the governor's offer coming up short of that point.

Add to the skepticism over permanent funding sources, local and state teachers are also leery of the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor.

Simek said she was not given all the relevant information about how Ducey planned to finance his plan when the governor first asked to sign on in support.

In deciding to strike en masse, Arizona teachers take especially high risks: The state does not guarantee their right to strike. "No one has more respect for the jobs that teachers do, which is why I proposed a viable, meaningful increase in their salaries previous year, as well as sustainable funding specifically for them and school facilities". Under his proposal, the average teachers' salary would go up to $58,130 from the current $48,372 within two years. We value our teachers and support staff, and continue to have open and honest conversations with them. The Economic Policy Institute reported, "In 2015, public school teachers' weekly wages were 17 percent lower than those of comparable workers - compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994". "And give us the schools that will stop educators from leaving our state and teaching somewhere else", he said when announcing that 78% of teachers voted in favor of the walkout. "But if that is what we're headed towards to get funding for our students and back to where we were in 2008, many of us are getting prepared".

So, will we know by tonight if schools will close down?

In addition to providing raw numbers, the auditors divided school districts into peer groups to better compare districts' efficiency and effectiveness.

Schools will be closed Friday for spring recess.