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Short of staff, Chandler school district campuses will stay closed

Thousands march to the Arizona Capitol for higher teacher pay and school funding Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Faced with a staffing shortage, the Chandler Unified School District has reversed course and will not reopen campuses Monday after all.

District officials had announced Thursday afternoon, the first day of the statewide teacher walkout, that it anticipated resuming classes after the weekend, but by around 10:30 p.m. realized that was not possible.

Teachers were notified that “based on the number of teachers who are reporting their absences, on Monday, our schools will need to remain closed April 30th.”

Earlier, a message was emailed to parents and posted on the district’s website, not long after an estimated 50,000 protesters engulfed downtown Phoenix to rally for better pay and more funding for education.

At this time, based on a poll taken by Chandler certified and support staff, we have determined that we will be able to provide a safe environment for students to reopen on Monday. All district services will resume on Monday as well. Approximately 75% of certified and support staff overall voted in favor of returning to work on Monday.

Chandler is believed to be the first district to announce plans to reopen schools.

A note on the CUSD substitute teacher login site said substitute teachers will be paid $100 per day, starting Monday. Those already assigned to a job would have had pay raised from $90 to $100 as well.

Most districts across the state expected to be closed at least Thursday and Friday in response to the walkout. Many also said they’d stay closed as long as the walkout lasted.

Organizers of the walkout gave no indication how long it would last after teachers voted in favor of it last week.

Chandler’s announcement was the first sign that teachers might not stay out for an extended period.

Gov. Doug Ducey proposed a 20 percent pay raise by 2020 for teachers, but his offer didn’t prevent them from walking off the job and taking to the streets.

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