Pictured: Teachers participating in the Red for Ed walk-ins on April 11 at Desert Willow Elementary in Cave Creek. Photos courtesy of Tara Alatorre/Staff
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Teachers vote to strike, what it means for parents

4/25/18

TARA ALATORRE
STAFF
PHOENIX - Teachers across Arizona voted to walkout of their classrooms on Thursday,
April 26, turning down Governor Doug Ducey’s proposed 20 percent pay raise
by 2020.

Educators decided to strike despite the governor’s pay raise offer because the deal does not meet many of their demands, which includes increasing school funding, raises for support staff and legislation that creates a long-term solution for schools.

The Arizona Education Association (AEA), and Arizona Educators United
(AEU), which are leading the grassroots Red for Ed movement in the state, announced the strike last week after over 70 percent of teachers voted to walkout. No information has been announced regarding how long the strike will last.

However, the AEU stated in an open letter to the governor that they want to be brought to the discussion table, so negotiations can begin. The groups claim that Arizona is over $1 billion below 2008 funding levels and its teachers’ salaries are the lowest in the nation.

“We represent tens of thousands of Arizona public school educators and we requested a meeting with you and legislative leadership on April 5,” stated AEU’s recent open
letter to the governor. “We are again requesting an opportunity to begin a negotiations process to address our state’s education funding crisis.”

The impending strike has caused districts around the entire state to announce closures
of schools and has left many parents scrambling to figure out child care solutions. The strike will also affect before and after school programs, and halts free or reduced lunches, which many parents and students rely on.

Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) announced that all its schools will be closed
during the walkout on April 26 until the strike ends.

“All schools will remain closed until we can assure that 75 percent of certified staff will
report to work,” stated the letter that DVUSD sent out to parents on April 23.

That also includes DVUSD’s before/after school care, preschools, front offices, community education programs and free/reduced lunch will not be served.

DVUSD also announced that senior graduation, prom, varsity sports and student trips may continue as scheduled if the proper supervision requirements can be met, which is determined by the campus principal.

Peoria Unified School District announced its schools will be closed during the teacher strike as well. The city announced it will be opening three sites for drop in recreation care to support parents who are affected by the school closure, which will be open this Thursday and Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with additional days available if
the strike continues.

“City of Peoria employees have been working diligently over the weekend to prepare for the consequences of the planned teacher walkout,” stated a press release issued by the city on April 23.

The drop-in sites are: The Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Avenue; the Rio Vista
Recreation Center, 8866 W. Thunderbird Road; and the Community Center, 8335 W.
Jefferson Street. There is a $25 per day fee and registration is required, call 623-773-7137 for information on availability.

Students who receive free and reduced lunch through Peoria’s school district can visit the Peoria Community Center for lunch service. More information about can be found on the district website at peoriaunified. org/updates or www.peoriaaz.gov/ampm

The Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) sent out a letter to parents on Monday, April 23, announcing that its schools will only be closed on April 26 to 27, and that school will resume on Monday, April 30. CCUSD will notify parents about any updates regarding the teacher strike through district and school websites, outdials, email and its social media accounts; the district is also reminding parents to make sure contact
information is up to date.

“Like many of our colleagues across the state, we believe that our state officials - legislators and the governor- need to find a viable way to increase and sustain education funding for Arizona’s public schools,” CCUSD stated in a letter to parents sent on April 23.

Local organizations are putting plans into place to assist parents.

The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix has announced a plan to support children and families during the strike, by opening it facilities to members and non-members. The clubs will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for students during the day, and is $20 per day, which includes lunch and snacks.

Space is limited, and current club members will have priority. Contact your local Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix (Scottsdale clubs will have different fees and schedules) for additional information or questions at 602-954-8182.

The Valley of the Sun YMCA is also preparing for school closures on Thursday, and is
providing a fun, safe, learning environment for children during the teacher strike.

“We understand that this may be a stressful time as you are seeking alternative child care, which is why the Y is here to ensure your child has a positive, out-of-school experience while in our care,” stated the YMCA on its website.

Parents will need to download, print and complete a registration packet before their child attends and pay a fee, which is $50 a day for members and $70 a day for non-members and lunch is not included. For more information or registration forms visit
Valleyymca.org.

The Governor has pressured the state legislature to pass his 20 percent teacher raise plan and has vetoed at least 10 bills in an effort to put pressure on the House and Senate. Ducey responded to teachers plan to walkout this week while speaking on KFYI Radio.

“I don’t know why the leaders would say that they’re going to strike when we are delivering for the teachers on what we believe they deserve,” Ducey said. “I can’t understand that.”

At the time this article was written it was still unsure if and when the governor would meet with educators and organizers from the Red for Ed movement, and when the strike is expected to end.