Arizona teachers rally as funding vote nears to end strike

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Marana schools will remain closed until the walkout ends. The deal includes a 20 percent pay raise for teachers by 2020 and $371 million in school funding in the next five years.

Educators packed the state Senate gallery on the fifth day of the walkout Wednesday to hear the budget plan proposed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislators brought to the floor.

Hundreds of Arizona educators lit candles and sang hymns under the lights of the Capitol complex as lawmakers debated a state budget plan that hikes teacher pay but doesn't address other school funding demands.

Karvelis said the organization will make a final decision based on those answers, but said they will most likely continue their walk out on Thursday.

State Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa, said he has wanted a full gallery since he began a career in public service. "I commend you for being here", Farnsworth said.

The state House also recessed without voting on the budget.

"We have options, but it is time for us to get back to our students and back to our classrooms", elementary school teacher and AEU organizer Rebecca Garelli said at a news conference.

"As it is right now, we amendments that are being drafted and finalized, and I don't exactly know how to respond to that", said Mesnard.

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Only 19 nations have official ties with Taiwan today, including the Vatican. Mainland China and Taiwan split following a civil war in 1949.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Legislature is meeting Wednesday to try to pass a budget plan in the midst of teacher protests outside.

The Arizona teacher strike may be coming to an end.

"The reality is, you can not make up a billion [dollar] deficit by using the same amount of income that we have", Rios said. "To ask us to go back to the classroom, when most people haven't even seen the bill... we've been talking to lawmakers that haven't seen bill yet... we're not going on blind faith". The Republican Governors Association is already running ads touting Ducey as providing major new school funding "without raising taxes". "With the input of the ed community and teachers, our plan improved".

"What we said is, 'This may go another day".

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

Sparked from nationwide demonstrations, the walkout began late April with almost 110 districts and charter schools comprised of 852,000 students closed, making it the largest teacher walkout in recent USA history. Now, the movement will pivot to longer-term efforts, such as a ballot initiative to create an increased funding stream and electing lawmakers who support public education funding.

The protest in Arizona is modeled on a nine-day demonstration in West Virginia, which resulted in a 4 percent raise there, and other actions by educators in Kentucky and Oklahoma.

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