Arizona parents worry for children’s near-future after walkout vote
PHOENIX — The possibility of a long-term teachers’ strike in Arizona looms after a vote to walk off the job, but even a short-term walkout has some parents both sympathetic and irritated over the decision.
Kevin Storey, a teacher at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, was not in favor of the walkout, which would begin April 26.
“My son is a high school senior at another school … what does this mean for him?” Storey said Friday.
“He has six tests coming up at the beginning of May and his graduation at the end of May. What does it mean for my own students if I don’t show up for work?”
Parent Brandy Travers already knew what would happen if no one was in place to teach her child.
“I will have to take off from work and adjust my schedules to make sure she’s cared for,” Travers said. Her daughter attends Shadow Mountain High School in the Paradise Valley School District.
“I think (teachers) need a pay raise but the way they’re going about it is incorrect.”
Teachers began voting Tuesday and finished Thursday. Hours later, Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said a work stoppage was moving forward.
Thomas said 78 percent of the 57,000 votes had chosen to walk out.
“Not everybody voted for this and a lot of people decided not to vote at all,” Storey said.
“There wasn’t enough information. The ballot had two simple options on it: I will support or I will not support. I think there’s a place in between that. There’s some middle ground. Personally, I could not support an undefined walkout.”
Two callers — teachers — told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos this week that they were voting no because they were single parents and needed to work.
Chris Clampitt, a father of two students at Paradise Valley High, said, “Instead of walking out on the kids and leaving them without teachers or substitutes, call for action and meet with the governor.
“Education is important to me and I have family members in education. I understand the need for better pay because I use to be an EMT and first responders and teachers are very underpaid.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.