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Arizona lawmakers set stage for late-night budget debate

04 May 2018

The end of the walkout, which shut down schools for hundreds of thousands of students, comes after a dramatic week in which lawmakers worked through the night while teachers kept vigil. It will be updated. Although the raises were lower than what teachers wanted, they are an improvement over the 1 percent raises Ducey originally proposed. "We should take pride in what we have accomplished, and in the movement that we have created together".

"This movement is not just about teachers in a classroom", said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association.

The organizations that spearheaded #RedForEd said that they could not support the budget package, although they pledged that if lawmakers delivered a budget by Thursday, they would end the walkout.

At the same time, they made it clear they were dissatisfied with the final education budget. Teachers also won $400 million in education funding to partially make up for recession-era cuts, according to the Associated Press.

The Arizona Senate has passed a $10.4 billion state budget plan that provides more than $300 million in raises for numerous state's striking teachers after working all night.

The education package brings in an additional $1 billion for education spending for teacher pay, textbooks, support staff, infrastructure and technology upgrades in what Mr. Ducey called a "real win" for educators.

The movement started in West Virginia, where a strike resulted in a raise, and spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky and, most recently, Colorado. "Our own economic experts predict only a $2 million cushion by 2021, which means if the predictions are off even by a little bit - if there's any economic slowdown no matter how small - our budget would be thrown wildly out of balance and the pay raises for educators would be jeopardized".

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The #20x2020 plan has been passed by the legislature and I was proud to sign it into law, providing a 20 percent boost in teacher pay over the next three years and a significant increase in flexible dollars to Arizona schools for new textbooks, technology, infrastructure, and support staff.

While teachers say they love what they do and it's a calling, they're hoping a new superintendent will mark a new day for Clark County educators.

"I think we still have some things to work through but hopefully without any adverse affects to our students". And since lawmakers aren't getting the job done, we will.

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

Teachers were awarded a 9 percent raise for the fall and 5 percent in each of the next two years - increases that come in addition to a 1 percent raise granted last year. But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, said her proposal was not part of the official budget deal.

Among the teachers who had packed the House and Senate galleries to watch Thursday's budget negotiations was Kathleen Hansen War, who said that one representative could be seen playing Solitaire and another staring at his cell phone, only glancing up "when his name was called [so he could] vote the Republican agenda".

Arizona lawmakers set stage for late-night budget debate