Arizona Teachers Get A Raise, But Not The One They Wanted

As governor approves raises, Arizona teacher strike ends

But many large districts ended up canceling school for a sixth straight day as the lawmakers worked through the night.

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

Teachers have been on a statewide strike that could extend into Thursday even if lawmakers pass the budget.

"The writing is on the wall, they're going to ignore the students and teachers and plight of the schools, and they're going to put through the budget they want", he said. Teachers had called for an immediate 20 percent raise.

The plan steers bulk money to districts and gives them the discretion to dole out the raises as they see fit, meaning not all teachers will receive the same percentage pay bump.

"It does not restore the more than $1 billion taken from our students and it leaves out school support staff like counselors, bus drivers, librarians, and many more who are vital to the success of our students". Teachers sought a return to pre-recession funding levels, regular raises, competitive pay for support staff and a pledge not to adopt any tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average. The massive walkout, known online under the hashtag #RedforEd, affected more than a million public school students and were comprised of teachers heading to legislative offices and downtown Phoenix urging lawmakers to make pay raises after the pay cuts from the recession.

The bill then went to Gov. Doug Ducey who signed it nearly immediately.

"Arizona teachers have earned a raise, and this plan delivers", the Republican governor said in a statement.

"Their voting no has nothing to do with not wanting to give us a raise", she said.

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Minority Democrats mainly voted against the budget plan, drawing criticism from Republicans.

"We can not continue to pass tax cut after tax cut, loophole after loophole, when our schools are in such need".

The package fell short of demands for more overall school funding. "You can't set a house on fire, call 911 and claim to be a hero".

Soyka echoed the sentiment, saying that while she's glad the budget passed and is excited to get back to school, "Everyone is ready for November". Meanwhile, the governor pushed through a radical expansion in school vouchers that will divert funding out of the public system and into private schools - unless voters shoot down the measure in a ballot initiative this fall.

Republicans offered amendments in response to the walkouts, which included an amendment from Rep. Kelly Townsend, which would have prohibited teachers in public schools from talking about or showing their political views during classroom time, and fined those who did. Officials from Tucson's biggest school district said they were working to reopen 86 school sites on Monday.

She said "many of the goals" in her State of Education address were "achieved", but added there was still "much work" that needs to be done. And she seemed to indicate some empathy with the concerns of teachers.

"I know people look at it as 'oh, look at all of this money we just got, '" she said.

Sen. Steve Farley voted for the bill.

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