"Tonight, we voted. Arizona educators have delivered a strong message tonight and overwhelmingly support walking out of their schools for their students, their communities and their colleagues. With over 57,000 votes cast and tallied, 78% of the school employees in this state said, 'Yes.' This is undeniably and clearly a mandate for action," said Joe Thomas, the President of the Arizona Educators Association.
Acknowledging that they "…need to give our communities time to prepare," Noah Karvelis, Arizona Educators United organizer and teacher, said that next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the teachers will continue to do walk-ins, as they have over the last several weeks. "On Thursday, we will begin a walkout. We can no longer allow the status quo in this state to go unchanged."
When asked how long the walkout would continue, Karvelis replied, "We need to see change here… I don’t want to put any limitations in it right now, because we need to stay responsive."
"I’m tired of seeing ex-Arizona teachers," Thomas said, calling on the Legislature and the Governor to meet their demands.
Teachers are demanding 5 things:
- 20% salary increase
- Restore education funding to 2008 levels (which would require an additional $1Billion in state funding to education.)
- Competitive pay for all education support staff.
- Permanent salary structure, including annual raises.
- No new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.
Governor Doug Ducey responded via Twitter after the vote.
"No one wants to see teachers strike. If schools shut down, our kids are the ones who lose out. We have worked side by side with the education community to develop a sustainable plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020. I am committed to getting teachers this raise and am working to get this passed at the Legislature. We need teachers teaching, and kids learning."
Here is the press release from the Arizona Educators Association:
PHOENIX – April 19, 2018 – Today, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) and Arizona Educators United (AEU) announced in front of AEA headquarters, that Arizona educators voted to walk out of Arizona’s schools – citing 10 years of drastically underfunded schools resulting in overcrowded classrooms, crumbling infrastructure, and low wages for educators.
AEA Is Keeping the Promise of a Quality Public Education
Arizona Education Association | 345 E. Palm Lane, Phoenix, Arizona| 602-264-1774