The Latest: Arizona governor blasts walkout decision

The Latest: Arizona governor blasts walkout decision
The Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on Arizona teachers protesting for higher pay and increased school funding (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Arizona’s governor blasted the statewide walkout on Twitter, saying children are the ones who lose out if schools shut down.

The Arizona Education Association announced late Thursday that of the 57,000 teachers who submitted ballots, 78 percent voted in favor of the walkout. Teachers will walk out of classrooms starting April 26.

Gov. Doug Ducey wrote on Twitter that he is committed to getting teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020.

Joe Thomas, the president of Arizona Education Association, says the governor’s plan doesn’t address other needs, including raises for support staff and a return to pre-Great Recession school funding levels.

The vote follows weeks of mounting protests.

___

9 p.m.

Arizona teachers have voted to walk off the job in an unprecedented move to demand increased school funding.

A grass-roots group and the state’s largest teacher membership group said Thursday that teachers voted overwhelming in favor of a walkout.

Arizona has among the lowest-paid teachers in the U.S. It is one of several Republican-dominated states where teachers have joined together to push for more money in the face of low salaries, large class sizes and crumbling infrastructure and outdated supplies.

The vote follows weeks of mounting protests and an offer by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to boost teacher pay by 20 percent. Teachers say his plan doesn’t address other needs, including raises for support staff and a return to pre-Great Recession school funding levels.

___

12:30 p.m.

A grass-roots group that’s organized weeks of protests by Arizona teachers is expected to give the results of a vote on whether educators should launch a first-ever statewide strike seeking increased school funding.

The group Arizona Educators United is set to make the announcement late Thursday in Phoenix with the Arizona Education Association, the state’s largest teacher membership group.

If teachers vote in favor of walking off the job, it’s unclear when it could happen.

The group has reserved space Friday and for four of five days next week for rallies as it prepares for a possible walkout. Organizers said this week that the group is “preparing for all options right now.”

The vote comes after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey offered teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 but didn’t address other demands, including more overall school funding.

.