Home / US / "He does not listen": Teacher and Governor of Arizona are fighting over school funding

"He does not listen": Teacher and Governor of Arizona are fighting over school funding

When thousands of teachers and supporters gathered at the Arizona Capitol to protest for insufficient public funding on Friday for a second day, Governor Doug Ducey again jumped at the opportunity to speak with them.

Instead, the PR machine of the Republican governor sent links to a series of interviews the day before with TV news reporters, where Ducey talked about his plan to increase teacher numbers by 20 percent by 2020 by 20 percent, point by point.

The scene was Friday in Denver, where several thousand teachers gathering for a second day to protest against low education funding were greeted by Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper. He said he would work to get the state to repay all of the $ 1

billion that it has withdrawn from education during the recession.

"See you, we'll hear you," said Hickenlooper, who wore a red checkered shirt and less than spoke for five minutes. "We work with you, not just today."

However, Hickenlooper did not offer financing above what had already been proposed for next year. Some teachers shouted about him, "We want more," while others praised his promise.

Ducey, who wants to be re-elected this year, did not address the 50,000 educators and supporters of the Capitol on Friday on Friday. He has politically motivated the leaders of the grassroots group that organized the strike with the Arizona Education Association

"He is not listening," said Kelly Grant, a mesa teacher. "There are five demands, there was from the beginning, so we just want somebody to sit down with our people, make an effort, they do not make any effort."

Ducey has refused to meet with strike leaders instead Two weeks ago, he ignored the demands of teachers protesting in early March after West Virginia educators went on strike and large salary increases] In a surprise move on April 12, Ducey tried to break the protests by announcing that he was in This year, he found a way to raise teacher wages by 9 percent, followed by 5 percent in 2019 and 2020. He also counts a 1 percent increase last year to get 20 percent figure. That would cost about $ 650 million a year by 2020 – in a state where tax breaks were cut as the governor shrank the government and implemented more tax cuts.

Late Friday afternoon, Ducey's office announced that he had completed a state budget with majority Republican leaders of the House and Senate. The deal provides for the 20 percent increase by 2020 and another $ 100 million for school districts, which the governor had proposed in January as a start to restore the recession cuts. But the plan is not geared to other demands of striking educators.

Teachers like Grant, who have organized a grassroots movement never before seen in this state, do not bow. They want not only the 20 percent salary increase, but also better pay of the assistants, annual teacher increases, a return of school funding to the level of 2008 and no new tax cuts until the state subsidies reach the national average.

Carrie Deahl, an English teacher at the Phoenix Union High School District, said she was disappointed that the governor and the legislature had not met with the organizers of the #RedforEd movement.

"The governor can not even come out of his office having a conversation with us, and yet he says he is the education governor," she said. "These are mixed messages that convey the public and the country who you really are and what your priorities are."

Arizona teachers are among the low payers who are paid in the nation. Schools that train the vast majority of the state's 1.1 million public students closed on Thursday and Friday when teachers left the job

The Arizona Education Association president Joe Joe told the educators on Friday that they might Monday Lawmakers and Ducey

He also told them there might be an effort to go to the polls to get a new "dedicated funding stream" to repay $ 1 billion if the K -12-education cuts away from the Great Recession. Grass roots group leaders Arizona Educators United planned to interview members over the weekend to continue the strike. Some school districts in the Phoenix area said Friday they will be closed on Monday.

A plan to increase income taxes for high wage earners was submitted on Friday by a separate group of educational funding advocates as an electoral initiative. This could be presented to voters in Arizona this fall, and the organizers of the #RedforEd movement say they're asking their supporters if they would come after the plan.

In Colorado, some classes were canceled for the second Friday. Teachers fear that changes in the state pension system will further impact their income. They are also worried about education funding, which lags behind the national average. While legislators are working on changes to the pension system, all tax increases to finance education must be approved by voters.

Associated Press reporters Melissa Daniels of Phoenix and Colleen Slevin of Denver have contributed to this report.

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