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Arizona, Colorado teacher protests focus on student cuts since 2008



Dustin Gardiner
| The Republic | azcentral.com


Teachers in Arizona, Colorado strike for pay

Thousands of teachers and supporters in Arizona and Colorado rallied for a second day to attract lawmakers for higher wages and more funding states. (April 27, 1965)

AP

PHOENIX – To defeat the heat, thousands of Arizona teachers gathered in the State Capitol for a second day of rallying on Friday morning, while Colorado educators had near perfect weather in Denver

The temperature reached 99 degrees MST in Phoenix at 3pm. To defeat another kind of heat, lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Arizona House and the Senate adjourned Thursday Thursday morning, allowing legislators to stay away from the protesters.

"I'm disappointed that they left, I'm disappointed that they will not talk," said Barbara Skinner, a teacher in the suburb of Mesa, Phoenix. "We want people to know that this is not happened a week ago. That was 10 years in the making. "

The crowd was estimated at about one in ten of the 50,000 participants on Thursday.

► April 26: Arizona teachers strike for more money, the protests spread to Colorado
► April 25: What worries parents most about the strike of Arizona teachers [April25: taxes on the US support school budgets, drug prevention efforts

While teachers in both states are worried about their salaries – average teachers pay in Arizona is $ 47,403 ranking 44th among the states and the District of Columbia and Colorado teachers average $ 51,808, 31st in the nation – what they really want is respect and financial support for their classroom.

"I have enough of not Havi enough," said Martha Petty, who teaches media science at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has been teaching for 32 years. "I still love the kids, and I still want to make it great, so, Colorado, make it great."

Since 2009, lawmakers in Colorado have reduced the amount of money they send to rural high-income schools Currently, it's $ 822 million a year, a total of $ 6.6 billion over the last decade, said Kerrie Dallman, Colorado Education Association president.

Colorado lawmakers do not have the power to raise taxes without asking voters. Therefore, the Union of Teachers supports an election initiative to raise taxes on people earning more than $ 150,000 a year and businesses.

"If I do not have to work a second job, I can spend more time planning," said Sarah Buck, a teacher at Adams 12 Five Stars Schools in the Denver suburb of Thornton. "Most of my income goes into caring for my children. April 23, ► April 23: Arizona governor puzzles over why teachers want to go
► April 20: Arizona educators vote for strike, a premiere for the state

Over the past two days, teachers in Colorado have used personal days to make their trek to the Capitol and hear supportive messages from Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.

"See you, we'll hear you," said Hickenlooper, wearing a red plaid shirt to support the #RedForEd movement. "We work with you, not just today."

In contrast, participating Arizona teachers voted for an exit, relying on the support of school districts, parents, and other taxpayers.

Arizona teachers want an increase of 20%, but also four other demands, including increases for assistants, annual teacher increases, a $ 1 billion recovery in state funding for education that has been cut since the recession, and none new tax cuts to the state per pupil reach the national average. Arizona's spending per student for 2017 was $ 7,501; The national average was $ 11,642 earlier this month according to a report from the National Education Association.

"In order to keep my job, I had to downsize my home so I could afford to teach," said Irene Vasquez, 56, a math teacher in the suburb of Peoria, Phoenix. "I've never had a part time job, but you do what you do because you love it."

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who plans to be re-elected this year, announced Friday afternoon that he has signed a contract with Republican leaders to provide a 20% increase for teachers by 2020. The other demands of the educators are addressed.

Ducey announced his announcement after the teachers left the Capitol for the day and the Republican did not speak to the teachers. Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, said state teachers would go for the third consecutive month on Monday.

"I think we have to come back Monday because they closed yesterday and we have to get away Show them they can not run away from our students," Thomas said. There is no concrete end in sight.

► April 13: Kentucky teachers gather for education allowance, fix their pensions [APRIL71965] [APRIL71945:ArizonaArizonateacherdoubleshissalarytoateachingjobinCalifornia

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Arizona, has announced that it has sent letters to state schools where parents and students could be charged if they did not return to the classroom immediately constitutional right to education and teachers are required by law to honor their contracts as government employees.

A coalition of progressive groups filed paperwork Friday to start the process for an Arizona ballot initiative raising the income tax rate to 3.46% on individuals earning more than $ 250,000 or households earning more than $ 500,000. It would also increase individual rates of 4.46% for individuals earning more than $ 500,000

► April 4: Oklahoma teachers share photos of broken chairs, outdated textbooks 19659011] ► March 8: West Virginia Teacher Victory Shows Women's Power

The initiative would spend 60% of their money on teacher salaries and 40% on district and charter school operations and maintenance costs if organizers get enough signatures to sign up for the election in November. It would also allow to cover money for full-time kindergarten and salary increases for student assistants and would require that board members receive input from teachers and staff on how to spend the funds.

Arizona #RedforEd organizers have called for the restoration of the state education fund to 2008 levels. According to Arizona's Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Arizona now spends $ 924 less per student on inflation-adjusted dollars than it did in 2008. [19659017] Contribution: Kelly Ragan, Sady Swanson, The (Fort Collins) Coloradoan; Allison Sylte, KUSA-TV, Denver; Ricardo Cano, Ryan Randazzo, Richard Ruelas, Catherine Reagor, Alexis Egeland, Lauren Castle and Megan Janetsky, Arizona Republic. Follow Dustin Gardiner on Twitter: @dustingardiner


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