It's Unclear Whether Arizona Teachers Will Return To Schools Thursday

By Will Stone, Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 1:50pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 4:00pm

Michael Day

An Arizona House committee has approved the final bill in a budget package, setting the stage for the full House to debate the spending plan that awards striking teachers a big raise but falls short of meeting other demands.

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

A key leader of the grassroots #RedforEd movement that called the strike over low teacher pay wasn't allowed to address the appropriations committee. But Democratic Rep. Randall Friese read Noah Karvelis' remarks where he praised striking teachers for getting big wins in the budget.

The letter said the movement "created the largest increase in school funding since the recession, but it's still not enough."

Supporters of the Arizona teacher walkout remain at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, calling on lawmakers to increase funding for education. It’s still unclear whether they’ll return to the classroom Thursday. 

For the fifth day, the Capitol was a sea of red. Hundreds of teachers and school staff gathered in support of the walkout, which began last week. Organizers of the #RedForEd movement say Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to increase teacher pay by 20 percent in the next few years doesn’t go far enough, but that a budget deal will mean the end of this walkout.

Sandy Morse, a high school history teacher, said they’re disappointed with the outcome, but that this has galvanized teachers.

“I have never been that politically active, but I am changing that. Everyone here has realized that we have to be actively involved in our government or they’ll just leave us behind," said Morse.

Morse said she has still been meeting with students to help them study for their upcoming AP tests, even though their school district is closed. 

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