The Arizona Legislature has approved a spending package that includes an education funding and teacher pay bill. KNAU’s Aaron Granillo reports some educators say the measure doesn’t go far enough to address their classroom needs.
The nearly $10.5 billion budget includes about $300 million for teacher pay raises this year. It will also partially restore education cuts made after the recession.
But, it does not meet all demands made by teachers who went on strike one week ago. They wanted more than $1 billion in education cuts fully restored, plus smaller class sizes and raises for support staff.
Lindsey Hillyard, a teacher at Puente De Hózhó in Flagstaff, says she’s not satisfied.
“It’s not enough. It’s enough to make small differences and we’ll take small differences. In our profession, baby steps go a really long way,” Hillyard, says. “But, this isn’t coming anywhere close to meeting the demands that classroom teachers have and really all educators have to be able to do our jobs effectively.”
Governor Doug Ducey signed the education and budget bills this morning, calling them a win for public education.
Organizers of the #RedForEd Movement say their fight for more school funding will continue, even as teachers return to their classrooms. It’s expected they’ll be back tomorrow, ending the state’s first-ever teacher walkout.