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Ballot initiative aims to fund Arizona education with higher income taxes

Teachers rally outside the Capitol, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Phoenix, on their second day of walkouts. Teachers in Arizona and Colorado walked out of their classes over low salaries keeping hundreds of thousands of students out of school. It's the latest in a series of strikes across the nation over low teacher pay. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona education advocates are pushing a ballot initiative to raise the income tax on high wage earners to fund public education.

The measure was filed at the Secretary of State’s office on Friday by organizers outside of the Red for Ed movement that’s mobilized a statewide teacher walkout.

The proposal, called the Invest In Education Act, would raise the income tax rate by 3.46 percent on individual incomes above $250,000 or household incomes higher than $500,000.

The rate would increase by 4.46 percent for individual income above $500,000 and household incomes above $1 million.

Sixty percent of the new funds would go toward teacher salaries. Forty percent would be added for all-day kindergarten and other uses.

The measure requires more than 150,000 signatures filed by July 5 to get on the November ballot.

The initiative was filed on the second day of a teacher protest intended to spur action on funding for education.

It was submitted by Joshua Buckley, chairman of the Invest in Education Committee. He also is the president of the Mesa Educators Association and a teacher at Red Mountain High School.

Gov. Doug Ducey has been pursuing a legislative solution to the state’s education crisis. The governor’s office announced Friday that a deal had been reached with the state lawmakers to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.