Teachers will stay off the job again Thursday

Updated: May. 2, 2018 at 6:58 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After hanging in limbo for much of Wednesday, May 2, Arizona teachers learned late in the day they will stay off the job again on Thursday, May 3.

The reason for the delay - the Arizona state legislature signaled it would have a budget deal wrapped up and signed on Wednesday.

"If we have a budget deal at all, it probably won't be until three or four in the morning," said Tucson Democrat Steve Farley, who is also running for Governor. "That's the way things work here."

"We are urging teachers to stay off the job until a budget deal is reached," said TEA's Jason Freed. "We don't want any surprises."

As for the teachers, many were gathered at Broadway and Campbell for the latest stand out.

The horns were honking and the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Most said they were waiting hour to hour to hear if they were going back to work or whether the walkout will continue.

Still, they said, regardless of what happens, they are glad they walked out.

"I feel we gained some awareness as to the dire situation education is in," said Shannon Delaney, a Sunnyside teacher. "I'm happy for that."

Most were happy but some said they were somewhat disappointed.

"We didn't get as much as we wanted to get," said Lorraine Hetschel, a Marine Biology and Chemistry teacher. "But then again with all the obstacles that were facing us in the legislature, we got a lot more than we were going to get."

That's because the initial proposal by Governor Doug Ducey was for a 1 percent annual raise for teachers.

The latest proposal will give teachers a 9 percent raise this year, with 5 percent in the subsequent two years, a 19 percent raise in all. Plus more than $100 million previously cut from schools has been restored.

The teachers, many of whom buy pencils, paper and even books for their students say that is being addressed in part.

Meantime, Sunnyside teachers are handing out food boxes and snack backs to students.

81 percent of the students in Sunnyside District are eligible for free or low cost meals.

With schools closed, as they will be in the district through the rest of the week, many families depend on the extra food to help.

"They can come twice a day, for breakfast and lunch," said Ruby Vidal, one of the organizers.

The meals are being distributed at the Valencia Library at 202 West Valencia Road.

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