Vote on possible teacher walk-out to be announced later tonight

Ducey's plan also includes more school resource officers and school mental health spending

Ducey's plan also includes more school resource officers and school mental health spending

Arizona educators and school employees will walk out of their classrooms Thursday, April 26, 2018.

Expect More Arizona, an education advocacy group, also released a statement Thursday night, saying the organization's leaders were "saddened that our teachers feel so disrespected and unsupported that they have chosen to walk out".

The educators are demanding a 20 percent raise for teachers and certified support staff, noting that the state's average teacher salary is $46,949 according to the Arizona School Boards Association.

Parents should contact the school districts about how they will handle the walkout and if classes will still be held.

"We need to give our communities time to prepare, " he said. "We can no longer allow the status quo in this state to go unchanged", he said.

ABC15 is reaching out to every district across the Valley right now to understand what the walk-outs mean for students.

Florence Unified School District Superintendent Chris Knutsen was among the school leaders at the press conference earlier this week. "This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action".

Starting Tuesday, teachers were asked to vote on whether they will participate in a walkout "in support of Red for Ed demands".

It's also unclear what the repercussions could be in the right-to-work state, where unions don't collectively bargain with school districts and representation is not mandatory.

In impassioned, short remarks, the teacher-organizers said the crisis in Arizona education funding left them with no choice but to set a walkout.

As the son of a mother who's worked in the public education system of MS, I know this anger is mutually shared among several states.

Superintendent Camille Casteel said in the event of a walk-out, the district would "more than likely" close schools and try to notify parents and staff as soon as possible in advance. But on Wednesday, Beth Simek, the group's president, said that after closer examination of how the plan would be funded, "we can no longer support the governor's proposal".

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Shortly after West Virginia's strike, Oklahoma teachers followed suit with a nine-day strike protesting low teacher wages in the state.

Teachers in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia have recently led strikes to combat the injustice and negligence being directed toward the future generations of our country. "If schools shut down, our kids are the ones who will lose out".

Teachers spend 10-20 percent of their salaries to pay for school supplies and many take on second and third jobs, including Uber driving and pizza delivery, to supplement their inadequate wages, pay impossibly high health care costs and college student loan debts.

Those estimates raise the possibility that even if educators accept Ducey's offer he could not get it approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature. "We have kids sitting in broken desks studying out of 25-year-old textbooks in a room with a leaky ceiling".

The before-school protests are created to raise awareness and support for the issue among parents but not disrupt the school day.

Ducey tried to forestall a strike last week by proposing to meet one of the protesters' chief complaints via a 20 percent teacher pay raise implemented in phases between now and 2020.

With Ducey's proposal my children would still be attending schools that are underfunded. "We need to be mindful of that support as decisions are made".

Under Ducey's proposal, average teacher pay would reach $52,725 by the upcoming school year and $58,130 by 2020.

Two prominent groups - Save Our Schools Arizona and the Arizona Parent Teacher Association - initially endorsed the governor's plan. "He doesn't necessarily have a plan to increase revenue to pay for teacher salaries, (but) the money's got to come from somewhere".

"We either think short-term or we think long-term", said Pamela Simon, a teacher at Bioscience High School in downtown Phoenix. Results show that 78 percent of the 57,000 educators who voted support this action. Imagine if educators stuck to their demands.

Ducey has promised to restore the full $371 million within five years.

"We need to bring the change that our educators and our students and our families in this state need", said Noah Karvelis, a teacher and an organizer with Arizona Educators United.

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