Teachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona’s first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.
The Arizona Education Association and the grass-roots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26.
At issue is a plan crafted by Gov. Doug Ducey to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020, starting with a 9 percent hike next year.
Initially, Ducey’s plan drew support from two education advocacy groups, Save Our Schools Arizona and the Arizona Parent Teacher Association (AZPTA). But both groups have withdrawn their support, saying the plan is not sustainable and likely will come at the expense of others in the educational system.
AZPTA President Beth Simek, in a video statement, said that an analysis from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff, coupled with her group’s research, led to their decision to oppose Ducey’s plan.
“In light of the funding streams that have come to light regarding the ’20 by 2020′ plan, we can no longer support the governor’s proposal,” said Simek. “As a voice for children, we hope to see the governor ……