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Arizona educators reject governor’s proposal, call for strike vote

By Jim Byrne |
April 18, 2018
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Tucson, AZ – Last Thursday, April 12, Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey presented his proposal for salary raises to the movement of educators called Arizona Educators United (AEU). It did not take long for teachers and educational support professionals to reject the proposal based on suspicions of a lack of new funding streams and the lack of recognition for classified support staff.

Upon further analysis, Ducey’s proposal would draw money from the state health care system, the developmentally disabled, and other programs important to working and poor people. Given Arizona’s demographics, this would disproportionately impact Chicano, Latino, Native and African-American communities.

In response to Ducey’s offer, AEU and the educators’ union, Arizona Education Association, teamed up to call a vote to determine support for statewide walk out. No date or duration for the action would be set until the votes are tallied after the window closes on the evening of April 19.

It must be noted that the Arizona public education budget has a $1.1 billion shortfall over the last ten years. Further, it is no coincidence that in that same ten-year period corporate income tax plummeted from 8.1% to 3.1%. Meanwhile, sales tax, widely recognized as a regressive tax punitive to the poor and working class, and individual income tax have both increased their share toward the state’s general fund. The result of this massive wealth transfer is a grossly underfunded public-school system and some of the lowest salaries for educators in the country.