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Gov. Ducey promises teachers on walkout day he’s working on raise

(AP File Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona

PHOENIX — As teachers in Arizona prepared to walk out on the job Thursday and march through downtown Phoenix, Gov. Doug Ducey said he was spending the day working on a plan to get them back in the classroom.

“I want to solve this and get teachers back in school,” Ducey told KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News before the walkout.

The Red for Ed march from Chase Field to the state Capitol was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., but teachers were gathering as early as 8 a.m.

“I’m ready to sign that budget today,” Ducey said, adding he would be be talking to legislators who have been reluctant to sign off on his education proposal.

“The best thing we can do as elected leaders is pass a budget that commits to teachers what I proposed on April 12. … I’m working with Legislature leadership to show that there’s a deal that’s been struck.” he said.

“This is not only about teacher pay.”

Ducey’s proposal offered teachers a 20 percent raise to be spread over two years and more funding for schools.

He encouraged people to go online to let their legislators know they wanted a deal made.

“We’re going to get $100 million for support staff and other needs. … If there’s still a teacher’s strike, I don’t think that will make sense to parents, I don’t think that will make sense to kids.”

In a statement released in the morning, Ducey said he understood teachers’ pain.

Without a doubt, teachers are some of the biggest difference-makers in the lives of Arizona children. They need to be respected, and rewarded, for the work they do — and Arizona can do better on this front.

We’ve all been listening — but now, it’s time to act. My number one focus right now is passing a 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers. This raise is earned, and it is deserved.

To parents, I understand the pain and pressure caused by today’s strike. I want you to know, I am working to get this 20 percent raise passed at the Legislature. But we need your help to make it a reality. Call your legislator and tell them to vote “yes” on a 20 percent pay raise for Arizona teachers.

We need teachers teaching, and students learning.

Hundreds of schools were closing because of the walkout. Facing staff shortages, a number of district officials said their campuses would be shut down until the walkout ended.

Teachers have committed to being out of the classroom through Friday, but would go longer, if necessary.

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