Preparations underway for Arizona teachers rally


"It's frustrating that we have to go to this length in order to get what our children need", said special education teacher Kristy Rogers.

Tens of thousands of students qualify for reduced or free lunches in Arizona.

"Everybody is banding together and helping each other", said Stephanie Barton, an exercise physiologist and Phoenix mom of two. In some cases, the food at school will be their only meal of the day.

Teachers have protested for weeks and took a vote on whether to launch the first statewide strike after Ducey unveiled his plan, saying they're concerned it doesn't increase funding for classrooms and students.

The political dealing comes as some of the state's largest school districts plan to close Thursday and Friday due to striking teachers, who are among the lowest-paid in the U.S.

The Governor's proposal would raise teacher's salaries by nine percent this year and build on that each year until teacher pay is 20 percent higher in 2020, but it does not address Arizona Educators United's other four demands. I'm working to get this 20% raise passed.

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Kristen Strissel says, 'It's something that where you really hope that someday you will have the funding necessary to really make sure that education is absolutely able to stay stride for stride with other industries but you know know in the mean time that the people who are doing this are doing this because they are motivated by something that is soul deep'. Seeing as teacher salaries have actually decreased in 39 of the 50 states in the past 10 years, the respondents' perspectives are not unexpected.

A 1971 Arizona attorney general opinion says a statewide strike would be illegal under common law and participants could lose their teaching credentials. It includes $371 million phased in over five years that districts can decide where to direct — that money could be used for support staff raises or other needs, Scarpinato said.

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, threatened a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of Arizonans affected by school closures caused by the teacher walkout, although KTAR News 92.3 FM's legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said on the air earlier today she doesn't think it would meet that standard.

Teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma have walked off the job to demand increased funding for their classrooms.

"I would love to have those meetings, and I would love to have them with the governor there", he said. She said education should be a priority, not a partisan issue. The children are the real victims of a strike. Other arts, athletic, and educational organizations are offering care for a fee.

More than 30 school districts will be closed in the Phoenix metro area. "Enough is enough. We can't take it anymore". Hey, calling it "a hard choice" to support the walkout.

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The walkout has no end date.

"Obviously it's never been done here before", said special education teacher Herman Edelson.

He's encouraged teachers to talk to concerned parents so they understand the fight is about students.

"We haven't seen the answers we need", he said.

Many districts, like Weld RE-4 (Windsor), are organizing walk-ins.

It's not known how long the walkout will last.

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This article was reported by The Associated Press.