Strik­ing teach­ers win 20 per­cent raise

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

PHOENIX — Ari­zona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a plan Thurs­day to give strik­ing teach­ers a 20 per­cent pay raise, end­ing their six-day walk­out af­ter a dra­matic all-night leg­isla­tive ses­sion and send­ing more than a mil­lion pub­lic school stu­dents back to the class­room.

Ducey’s sig­na­ture awarded teach­ers a 9 per­cent raise in the fall and 5 per­cent in each of the next two years. Those in­creases are in ad­di­tion to a 1 per­cent raise granted last year.

Teach­ers did not get ev­ery­thing they wanted, but they won sub­stan­tial gains from re­luc­tant law­mak­ers.

“The ed­u­ca­tors have solved the ed­u­ca­tion cri­sis! They’ve changed the course of Ari­zona,” shouted Noah Karvelis of Ari­zona Ed­u­ca­tors United to sev­eral thou­sand cheer­ing teach­ers. “The change hap­pens with us!”

The Ari­zona walk­out is part of a sim­mer­ing na­tional re­bel­lion about low teacher pay. The move­ment started in West Virginia, where a strike re­sulted in a raise, and spread to Ok­la­homa, Ken­tucky and, most re­cently, Colorado.

Hours af­ter Ducey acted, strike or­ga­niz­ers called for an end to the walk­out. Most schools stayed closed Thurs­day, ex­cept a hand­ful that man­aged to re­open shortly af­ter the pay raises passed. Some dis­tricts planned to re­open to­day, with oth­ers likely to re­sume classes next week.

The Se­nate ap­proved the raises just be­fore dawn as hun­dreds of red-shirted teach­ers fol­lowed the pro­ceed­ings from the lobby, many sit­ting on the cold stone floor.

Ducey said the teach­ers earned a raise and praised the leg­is­la­tion as “a real win” for teach­ers and stu­dents. The pay in­creases will cost about $300 mil­lion for the com­ing year alone.

Ari­zona Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Joe Thomas said ed­u­ca­tors should now fo­cus on a cam­paign for a Novem­ber bal­lot mea­sure that would seek more ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing from an in­come tax in­crease on the wealth­i­est tax­pay­ers.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Teach­ers chant as they con­tin­ued to protest Thurs­day at the Ari­zona state Capi­tol in Phoenix. Af­ter an all night leg­isla­tive bud­get ses­sion, the state leg­is­la­ture passed the new ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing por­tion of the bud­get, which in­cludes a 20 per­cent pay raise for teach­ers, and Repub­li­can Gov. Doug Ducey signed that part of the bud­get Thurs­day.

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