The Latest: Arizona governor says threat of strike political
Apr. 11, 2018
PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on teacher protests over pay and funding of education (all times local):
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says he won't meet with teachers who are threatening to strike over low pay because he believes they are politicizing the issue.
The Republican said on KTAR radio Tuesday evening that he is concerned about talk of a possible statewide teacher strike over low school funding. But he says the teachers he's heard from don't want to strike and blames "the people who are playing politics" for talking about a strike.
Leaders of a group called Arizona Educators United say they could soon announce a teacher walkout and hundreds gathered outside the radio station as Ducey spoke. The group has grown to about 40,000 members since it was organized following a strike in West Virginia in early March.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that repeals a proposed lodging tax that was part of a package of tax hikes for public education.
Fallin signed the bill Tuesday as well as two other measures to generate new revenue to help pay for teacher pay raises and public classroom needs.
The proposed $5-per-night tax on hotel and motel rooms was part of the original education package and would have raised about $45 million, but it was heavily opposed by the hospitality industry.
Fallin signed a measure allowing tribal casinos to offer roulette and dice games, which will raise about $20 million. The governor also signed a bill to raise about $20.5 million requiring third-party online retailers to collect and remit sales tax back to state coffers.
Oklahoma's largest school districts will remain closed Wednesday for an eighth consecutive day amid ongoing teacher protests for more classroom funding.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa schools announced class cancellations Tuesday as teachers continue to march at the state Capitol.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last month granting teacher pay hikes of about $6,100 and providing tens of millions of new dollars for public schools, but many educators say classrooms still need more money.
Educators have not said when their walkout will end.
The political push in Oklahoma is part of a wave of teacher rebellions in states led by conservative leaders. Arizona teachers are organizing a statewide walkout, following demonstrations in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Arizona teachers who have organized to push for big raises and a restoration of school funding to pre-recession levels are preparing to set a date for a statewide walkout.
The developments Tuesday come after the demands from the group with about 40,000 members have been ignored by Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican lawmakers who control the Legislature.
Leaders of the Arizona Educators United say they could announce a date for action at any time. Organizer Noah Karvelis told The Associated Press that Ducey and GOP legislative leaders have not responded to their requests for negotiations, so they see no choice but to move to walkouts.
Ducey is sticking with his plan to slowly boost school funding, promising a 1 percent teacher raise and $100 million in extra funding this year.
Classes remain canceled in Oklahoma's biggest school districts Tuesday as teachers walk out for a seventh day.
Leaders of Oklahoma's largest teacher's union have demanded a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and for the governor to veto a repeal of a proposed lodging tax as they push for more education funding in massive demonstrations at the state Capitol.
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin approved teacher pay raises of about $6,100, but many educators say their classrooms need more money.
Oklahoma teachers have joined a revolt that started in West Virginia and has spread to other Republican-led states including Kentucky and Arizona.
Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister on Monday extended the time period for students to take standardized tests in hopes of preventing the loss of federal money.