Diane Douglas warns teachers there could be repercussions for walkout

Apr 24, 2018, 3:39 PM | Updated: 9:33 pm

Diane Douglas (Milken Family Foundation Photo)...

Diane Douglas (Milken Family Foundation Photo)

(Milken Family Foundation Photo)

LISTEN: Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction

PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas called the planned teacher walkout illegal and warned teachers that they would be taking a risk by walking off the job.

“I’m only going to tell them the truth. … It is illegal to strike in Arizona, and by every definition I’ve read, this is a strike,” Douglas told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Tuesday.

“To resign your position — and one can arguably say walking out on a strike could be resigning your position under the law — that is an actionable, unprofessional action on the part of a teacher. So that can be … anything from a letter of censure to a suspension to a revocation.”

Douglas also criticized district leaders who have announced they will close schools when the walkouts begin Thursday.

“It does seem to me, as a former school board member, that our school boards and our administration seem to be enabling what is actually an unlawful act on the part of our teachers,” she said.

Teachers have been calling on Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state lawmakers to increase their pay by 20 percent, boost the pay of school support staff and improve school conditions.

In response to sustained protests, Ducey issued a proposal to phase in a 20 percent pay increase by 2020.

Educators, however, were concerned that the funding wasn’t sustainable and the proposal didn’t meet all of their demands. Last week they voted last week in favor of a walkout.

Douglas thinks teachers missed an opportunity by rejecting Ducey’s offer without engaging in negotiations.

“I think 20 percent is a very good offer,” she said. “I believe that our teachers should have stayed at the table to work through all of that.”

Douglas said she’s long been a proponent of increasing teacher pay and it’s the No. 1 issue among parents.

“Since I’ve been in this office, I’ve been advocating for more funding for education and a specific pay raise for teachers, but I can’t do it alone,” she said.

The superintendent said she thinks a walkout could backfire on teachers and also push parents into seeking alternatives to public schools.

“I believe that this strike could ruin that support [from parents], and I do believe that it could potentially drive parents to charter schools, especially if the charter schools remain open,” she said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Man was found dead after partying at Bartlett Lake Bash...

Missing Arizona man’s body found dead in Bartlett Lake

A missing man was found dead in Bartlett Lake a day after his friends reported him missing, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

1 hour ago

Former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden, shown during an Oct. 22, 2020, debate...

Jim Sharpe

The 2 (really) big things causing Joe Biden to trail Donald Trump in Arizona

Immigration and economy woes might be too much for Joe Biden to overcome in the 2024 election in Arizona, host Jim Sharpe writes.

3 hours ago

Executive order from Gov. Katie Hobbs expands reproductive rights...

Executive order from Gov. Katie Hobbs expands contraceptive access in Arizona

Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order protecting reproductive freedoms through increased access to contraception, officials said.

4 hours ago

The Wildcat Fire burning north of the Valley continues to grow as dry, windy conditions make it dif...

Wildcat Fire north of Valley continues to grow due to dry, windy conditions

The Wildcat Fire burning north of the Valley continues to grow as dry, windy conditions make it difficult to suppress the blaze.

5 hours ago

An 11-year-old girl was hospitalized after almost drowning in Phoenix on May 19, 2024. (Pexels Phot...

11-year-old girl hospitalized after nearly drowning when hair caught in Phoenix pool

An 11-year-old girl was hospitalized after her hair got caught in an underwater pool fixture in Phoenix, authorities said Monday.

6 hours ago

Eleven defendants met on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate falsely claiming they were “duly el...

Read the unredacted indictment in Arizona Republican fake elector investigation

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes on Monday released the unredacted indictment in the case where 18 high-profile suspects are accused of taking part in a Republican fake elector scheme in the state.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Diane Douglas warns teachers there could be repercussions for walkout