School districts announce closings for Thursday

Arizona Teachers Say They'll Go Back To School If Budget Is Passed

Arizona teachers says they'll end walkout if legislature passes budget

Teachers have demanded states reverse education spending cuts imposed since tax revenues ran short during the US recession that ended in 2009.

The walkout is in its fourth day Tuesday, with some school districts already planning to close Wednesday.

"Regardless of where an individual stands in their beliefs about the past week, we are a district and come back together as a district", YUHSD Superintendent Gina Thompson said.

After that, the long game is to push for a ballot initiative that creates new funding streams for education and to elect policymakers who support increasing school funding, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, the largest teacher membership group.

"I think they're starting to get a little anxious, like how much longer do we think it's going to take, and really, we don't know", said Fuentes, who is taking paid leave to participate.

Catalina Foothills schools will be closed Thursday.

Arizona teachers have pledged to end a strike and return to work if the legislature approves a proposed budget deal between the governor and state lawmakers to raise their pay, despite saying the spending measure does not go far enough. "20 percent pay increase for teachers by 2020, permanent, ongoing, projected in the base formula, $100,000,000 in additional dollars for support staff, increasing to $371,000,000 over 5 years, No tax increase!"

In essence, the money is being handed out on a bulk basis. Ducey had resisted giving teachers more than a 1 percent raise that he promised in January until teachers neared a strike vote. "I commend you for being here", Farnsworth said.

And House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said the process is moving as fast as it can.

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The state House also recessed without voting on the budget. "But this is pretty much par for the course when the budget would be passed".

KPNX is reporting that the vote should happen Wednesday night.

For example, the Senate approved SB 1398 that spells out that people will lose their unemployment benefits after four weeks if they don't take any job offered to them, regardless of whether it's in their field and regardless of whether it pays substantially less than the job they lost.

Tucson Unified schools are closed Thursday.

And lawmakers gave final approval to HB 2422, which will allow automated "personal delivery devices" weighing up to 200 pounds to roam Arizona sidewalks.

Missing is restoration of the more than $1 billion that has been taken from K-12 funding in the past decade. They also wanted yearly raises and no new tax cuts until their salaries and the state's per-student spending both reached the national average.

Kavanagh told a KTAR News 92.3 FM reporter earlier on Wednesday that he was confident that the budget would be approved, including the "education policies that we have been talking about for the last several days".

One would set the maximum class size at no more than 25 students.

Hundreds of Arizona educators lit candles and sang hymns under the lights of the Capitol complex as lawmakers debated a state budget plan that hikes teacher pay but doesn't address other school funding demands.

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