Arizona teachers try to ease strain on parents during strike

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In a video on the Arizona Educators United Facebook page, another set of organizers rallied teachers to head to the Capitol until the budget was passed.

But it does boost education funding by more than $300 million, said Noah Karvelis, a music teacher and organizer with Arizona Educators United - and much of that money wasn't involved in the spending plan until the movement started.

"We don't have any idea when the Legislature will be done", Curtis Aylward, a college algebra teacher at Peoria and one of the school's AEU site liaisons, said. Several school districts have been so confident in a resolution that they announced they'd be re-opening their doors Thursday.

Teachers chanted "no budget, no school" as they marched around the courtyard separating the House and Senate buildings outside the Arizona Capitol.

It was the largest teachers' strike in US history and has kept most of state's 1.1 million public school students out of class. "They've got to get closure on this". Other proposals would add more guidance counselors and spell out that support staff, left out of the teacher raise, would be entitled to a 10 percent pay hike.

Some Arizona school districts will stay closed during a statewide walkout by teachers.

That is significant because one of the key demands of the #RedForEd movement is to bring state aid back to where it was a decade ago.

Arizona lawmakers appeared set to pull an all-nighter to pass a $10.4 billion state budget plan that provides more than $300 million for raises for numerous state's striking teachers.

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Teachers walked out last week hoping they could demand more funding from Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican lawmakers. And a top Republican lawmaker gave teachers credit for keeping the pressure on.

"I think they're starting to get a little anxious, like how much longer do we think it's going to take, and really, we don't know", said Fuentes, who is taking paid leave to participate. "Our track record of delivering that promise has not always been ideal, so I don't think they wasted their time". The group also wants Arizona to restore education funding to 2008 levels, while Gov. Doug Ducey has offered to restore $371 million in cuts over five years.

Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers, whose pay is more than $10,000 below the national average of $59,000 per year, have held a week-long walkout. From its beginnings in West Virginia, it spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and most recently Colorado.

The striking teachers said they felt they received support from their school district administrations.

"I'm glad it passed and we'll get something because I'm a single mom of three kids, but it's not enough", she told Phoenix-area radio station KTAR.

She said she is a Republican but is fed up with the state Legislature and with Ducey.

"We have so many people now that are paying attention to what's going on, they will never turn away from this fight now", he said. The Arizona Legislature is expected to vote on a budget today, which organizers say will now include additional funding for education. Thomas said he's confident that educators and their supporters will remain mobilized.

Backers of the "Invest in Education Act" were collecting signatures to put a $690 million tax increase on high-wage earners before voters in November to provide steady funding for education. "That is what we said yesterday, and that is the sentiment that we are getting from the people who are here".

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