KTAR, Arizona teachers continue ‘walk-ins’ as strike vote outcome looms

By KTAR Staff, 4/18/18

 

PHOENIX — Public school teachers in Arizona marked a third straight Wednesday staging walk-ins to start their day to protest low pay and classroom conditions.

Demonstrations have continued nearly a week after Gov. Doug Ducey proposed to increase instructor pay by 20 percent stretched over two years.

Teachers have begun voting whether to strike. Arizona Educators United and the Arizona Education Association have said a long-term walkout was possible. Voting ends Thursday.

Felicia Favela, a teacher at Shea Middle School in Phoenix, said the governor’s proposal fell short of what the #RedforEd movement wanted.

“The governor’s proposal is pitting teachers against each other. It’s a lot of empty promises because we don’t know where the money is coming from and if it will be sustainable,” she said. Another teacher in the Paradise Valley School District, Steve Apostolides, said incoming teachers were getting shortchanged.

“They can make about the same money working at a fast food restaurant.”

Apostolides added, “I don’t believe that the governor will keep his word. Every year it’s the same. Our insurance goes up. Every year (the governor or state legislature) say we’ll get more money and they find a way to take it away.

“It’s time for a walkout because talking hasn’t solved anything.”

State Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) told KTAR News 92.3 FM, “They don’t want to walk out. … Let’s not have a walkout, let’s solve the problem.”

Farley, the assistant minority leader said, “I’m in one hundred percent agreement with the governor about goals — we need to pay our teachers 20 percent raises, we need to fund our schools, our classrooms.

“…Our schools are in crisis, but the way to fund it means you just can’t cobble together a bunch of one-time money and say you’ve solved the problem.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

 

April 18, 2018