PHOENIX—The Arizona American Federation of Teachers and its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, responded to Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget proposal that would take $100 million from a package originally earmarked for school funding and allow superintendents to decide whether to use it to pay for wage hikes for support workers or for school maintenance, classroom resources and other school needs. Ducey has already offered a proposal for a 20 percent pay raise for teachers by 2020.
Arizona AFT President Ralph Quintana:
“Gov. Ducey’s budget proposal comes up short and doesn’t meet the needs of our schools and students. Ducey continues to resist providing what educators and the public are clamoring for to make our schools whole. Passing money from one hand to the other creates winners and losers. Virtually everyone is a loser in this shell game. The budget package does not include a way to finance fixing crumbling schools, purchasing textbooks and curriculums, lowering class sizes and hiring more teachers to alleviate the teacher shortage. This package is a disgrace.”
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:
“Public education is about helping every child succeed, and Arizona educators—Republican and Democrat alike—have become a human shield to protect students and themselves. Unfortunately, this budget proposal pits essential needs against each other—higher salaries versus more supplies, smaller class sizes and fixing crumbling buildings. Clearly the governor only wants to solve the political crisis but not the real crisis, refusing to bring educators and legislators to the table to find long-term, sustainable funding. Instead, the sad reality is a legacy of massive budget cuts that hurt students and schools.
“Don’t get us wrong; we appreciate the pay raise. But Arizona has the means not to force districts into these Hobson’s choices. New revenue is needed for both wage hikes and classroom needs, to restore the obscene budget cuts that are devastating kids’ futures. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the answer. Educators will continue to rise up, speak out and stand up for their students.”