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Arizona teachers overwhelmingly oppose proposed state budget

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PHOENIX –As state budget talks resume this week, a new survey shows Arizona teachers strongly oppose the proposed budget and feel it leaves money on the table that could otherwise go toward public schools.

More than 1,000 teachers responded to the survey by the Arizona Education Association.

“We asked them will students and educators benefit from the proposed state budget with no additional funding or resources being necessary?” Joe Thomas, the association’s president said during a press conference Monday. “93% disagree with that statement.”

Thomas added 89% of teachers are against the tax cuts proposed in the state budget. He said they feel it would drain billions from state revenue that could be used to cover various educational needs.

The survey shows teachers list higher salaries as the most pressing need.

“Arizona teachers need a competitive salary,” Thomas said. “We are losing too many of our educators to other professions or other states.”

Other pressing needs teachers listed include smaller class sizes, funding for full-day kindergarten and money to fix and repair school buildings.

In addition, teachers don’t like that the state budget would keep wealthy Arizonans from paying a 3.5% surcharge to generate money for education as approved by voters under Proposition 208.

Thomas noted 98% of teachers surveyed see Prop 208, also known as the Invest in Education Act, as a win and think Gov. Doug Ducey and the State Legislature should “uphold the will of the voters.”

After pausing for a special session last week to approve funding for wildfires, state lawmakers resume budget talks on Tuesday. They face a constitutional deadline of June 30 to approve a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.

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