After Protests, Arizona Teachers See Victory In Teacher Wage Battle

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With the passing of the education budget, Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said she commends the governor and legislature for "working hard under difficult circumstances".

Finally, on Thursday morning, Ducey ostensibly put an end to the strikes, by signing a new education budget bill that gives (some, but not all) Arizona teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 - but doesn't include a sustainable revenue source, raise for non-instructional school staff, or restoration of 2008-level education funding.

Under the deal, teachers will get a 10 percent pay increase this year and 5 percent more in each of the next two years. "They wanted to see a more robust package", Thomas said, adding that the bill would not reduce class sizes.

Arizona's historic #RedForEd teacher walkout will stretch to a sixth school day, as Arizona Educators United organizers urged teachers to return to the Capitol Thursday amid unresolved budget discussions. His 20 By 20 plan would give teachers a 20 percent pay hike by 2020.

Several hundred teachers watched in the state capitol galleries, and more stood vigil outside singing "America the Beautiful" and "Amazing Grace".

Besides providing more than $4.5 billion for K-12 education, the budget envisions spending about $1.8 billion for the state's Medicaid program, $1.1 billion for prisons, $725 million for public universities, about $630 million on social services and $388 million for the child safety department.

"You can't set a house on fire, call 911 and claim to be a hero", he said.

Minority Democrats mainly voted against the budget plan, drawing criticism from Republicans. Teachers had complained of insufficient school funding that led to problems including tattered and limited school supplies and cockroach-infested classrooms.

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Diane Douglas, the superintendent of the state Department of Education, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that she was very pleased that teachers were returning to class, but expressed concern with the questions they would have to face.

The education package brings in an additional $1 billion for education spending for teacher pay, textbooks, support staff, infrastructure and technology upgrades in what Mr. Ducey called a "real win" for educators.

"Not only is school not fun anymore, but it's scary", she said. But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said her proposal was not part of the official budget deal. Some smaller districts began to open their doors on Monday, while others announced they'd be closed for as long as the walkout continued.

In addition to teachers' salary increases, the AEU also asked for a review of cuts to the education budget over the past decade. The strike had closed more than 1,000 schools, keeping more than 800,000 students out of classrooms statewide. In Kentucky and Colorado, teachers are primarily concerned with pension reform.

"But you do not get to hurt the people of this state because I represent them as well", Townsend said.

Approved mostly along party lines in the House, HB2663 drew bipartisan support in the Senate, with Sens.

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, had no better luck in trying to roll back Republican-crafted laws that allow judges to disqualify initiative petitions if all the documents are not in "strict compliance" with all election laws.

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