Teachers spend part of fourth walkout day inside Arizona Capitol

May 1, 2018, 11:07 AM | Updated: 1:12 pm
(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)...
(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)
(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX — Arizona teachers on walkout crowded a room at the State Capitol on Tuesday morning to watch a hearing on the budget proposal that included the education package.

Members of the House and Senate were to meet on the fourth day of a statewide teacher walkout to vote on the measure that would give them a 20 percent pay raise by 2020.

In a letter sent to school district administrators but addressed to parents and teachers, Gov. Doug Ducey said the deal was close to being finalized and would put $100 million into schools for fiscal year 2019 and $371 million in 2023.

Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas said he hoped the legislature will have a budget finalized Wednesday. Teachers planned to be out that day, too, although some school districts have welcomed back students and staff.

Thomas has already said there may be an effort to go to the ballot to get a new “dedicated funding stream” to help restore $1 billion of K-12 education cuts over the past several years.

Brittany Marshall with the Madison District was itching to get to her classroom.

“We’re all rallying together and the more optimistic we stay the more unified we look.”

Another Madison District teacher, Tiffany Mendez, wanted to return to work, too.

“My superintendent says, ‘come back, whenever they have the budget ready and everybody is satisfied,’ ” Mendez said.

“We’re gonna go back and open our doors again. I think the momentum shifted positively with the huge rally (Monday). The energy from our community is fantastic.”

KTAR New 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Teachers spend part of fourth walkout day inside Arizona Capitol