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Arizona teachers mulling protest options, including April strike

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — A group demanding raises for Arizona teachers was considering its protest options this week that could include a strike in the coming weeks.

“We have a walk-in next Wednesday and then, from there, we don’t have anything essentially planned,” Red for Ed organizer Noah Karvelis said Wednesday. “All options are on the table.”

Karvelis, a music teacher in Tolleson, said the group was taking stock of how the public reacted to other protests held this week, including walk-ins.

“That ultimately tells us what we’re capable of in terms of mobilization beyond that,” he said.

Though he did not give a set timeline for a potential strike, Karvelis said there was a chance it could come before the calendar reads May 1.

“You’d be seeing those (strikes) in April, probably,” he said.

The group was still studying the calendar to minimize the impact of a potential strike on students, some of whom will take AzMERIT tests this month.

“We’re going to do our best to avoid any issues,” he said.

Karvelis said the teachers could choose to strike earlier rather than later to catch the attention of the Arizona Legislature while it is still in session.

“We have the legislative session going on right now and it’s trying to close very quickly, so there’s pressure to act right now,” he said. “We have our momentum right now. … Our infrastructure is continuing to be built. We have power. We have mobilization.

“We need answers now. We need something to be done now.”

Karvelis said Red for Ed has demanded a 20 percent hike in teacher salaries, competitive pay for school staff and the elimination of corporate tax breaks until per-pupil funding matches the national average.

KTAR News’ Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.