Arizona teachers hold fourth day of walkouts

Striking Teachers Draw Criticism as More than 1000 Arizona Schools Remain Closed

More significant, Ducey has agreed to an average 9 percent pay hike for teachers for the coming school year, with a 5 percent increase the following year and an identical increase the year after that.

Educators in red shirts cheered and jeered Wednesday night inside the legislative chambers where lawmakers were in the early stages of debating a Republican-backed $10.4 billion spending plan.

"We need everybody here at the Capitol until the budget is passed".

The governor and state legislators struck a budget deal to get teachers some of those demands.

The Peoria Unified School District said it would close Thursday after it previously said it would re-open.

The protests are part of a national teacher action that began in West Virginia and spread to other Republican-controlled states, including Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Arizona Educators United organizers Dylan Wegela and Rebecca Garelli told members on a Facebook Live video Wednesday afternoon that they need to keep the pressure on lawmakers.

"I think that they had a promise from us that we were going to do something", House Majority Leader John Allen said. "After we announced the walkout, they renewed it", said Noah Karvelis, a music teacher and also an AEU organizer.

The walkout, which began April 26, prompted thousands of Arizona teachers to descend on the state capitol daily demanding higher wages and more education funding.

"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.

As budget negotiations stretched on Wednesday, however, several school districts walked back the hopeful announcements they had released earlier in the day. The Republican Governors Association is already running ads touting Ducey as providing major new school funding "without raising taxes".

Gladys Garcia said many of her students rely on free or reduced price meals at Challenger Middle School in Tucson and she organized with colleagues to collect food to hand out at a public library.

But Arizona's schools closures likely affected the most students, more than 800,000, and the first day of the strike saw a crowd estimated at 50,000 march to the state Capitol.

Teachers in the Grand Canyon State banding together under the #RedForED movement for the third day are using the Twisted Sisters' tune "We're Not Gonna Take It" as their fight song, reports

Red-clad teachers in the #RedforEd movement gathered Wednesday on the mall between the House and Senate buildings a day before their historic walkout for education funding is set to end.

Teacher demands include a 20 percent salary increase and a restoration of education funding to 2008 levels, a change that would require adding approximately $1 billion to education funding.

But it's basically the same budget proposal that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey rolled out two weeks ago, which AEU found wasn't good enough at the time.

The development was the latest since the organization announced on Tuesday that educators would return to school on Thursday if the Arizona Legislature could pass a proposed budget.

The striking teachers, however, say they will stick to the demand for increased school funding as well.

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