Arizona teachers have pledged to end a strike and return to work if the legislature approves a proposed budget deal between the governor and state lawmakers to raise their pay, despite saying the spending measure does not go far enough.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey could sign the agreement as early as Wednesday and end a walkout that kept most of Arizona’s 1.1 million public school students out of class since last Thursday.
“The war is not over but we’ve won an important battle, to move the legislature this far,” Noah Karvelis, a union organizer and music teacher, said at a news conference.
The walkout in Arizona, where teacher salaries rank among the lowest in the country, followed similar actions by teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma, which were the first statewide U.S. teacher work stoppages since the 1990s. All four states have Republican governors and Republican-dominated legislatures.
Teachers have demanded that states reverse salary and funding constraints imposed when tax revenues ran short during the 18-month U.S. recession that ended in June 2009.
Teachers in Colorado also walked out of classrooms on April 27 for a second day over the same issues, but little progress was made there on Friday. (Reuters)