#Redfored: Ducey Vetoes 10 Bills To Pressure Legislature To Fund Raises For Teachers

Teachers participating in Red for Ed marched at the Arizona Capitol chanting, “Better pay, so we stay!” (Photo by Melina Zuniga/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday responded to plans for a teacher walkout by vetoing 10 bills and calling for legislators to craft a budget that includes his plan to increase teacher pay by 20 percent by 2020.

Organizers with Arizona Educators United announced the walkout Thursday night, effective April 26. Leaders said 78 percent of the 57,000 educators who voted supported the walkout.

It is believed to be the first statewide teacher walkout in Arizona’s history.

Teachers, who in some districts were told to use sick or personal days for the walkout, may face repercussions, including being fired and replaced if the walkout continues for an extended period. By law, Arizona must provide 180 school days each year.

Friday, Ducey vetoed 10 bills on his desk, each time sending a variation of the same letter back to House Speaker J.D. Mesnard asking the speaker to send him a state budget that gives teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 and “restores additional assistance” to schools.

“Our teachers have earned this raise,” the governor wrote in the letters. “It’s time to get it done.”

Ducey, however, has refused to consider tax increases to pay for more education funding, instead hoping the economy will continue to flourish.

Republican legislators did not immediately react to the vetoes, and they have not commented on the decision to walk out.

In a statement Friday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas implored educators to not walk off the job, asking that they wait for the Legislature to act.

““If the teachers do not give the leadership at the Capitol the time to implement their salary increase, I’m afraid that striking will only hurt students and parents, while simultaneously setting back their own cause,” she said.

Several Democratic groups said they supported the teacher walkout.

“Through numerous walk-ins and protests, Arizonans have finally said enough is enough,” the Arizona Democratic Party said Friday. “This isn’t ‘political theater’ – it’s about respecting our teachers and building a brighter future for Arizona.”

House Democratic leader Rebecca Rios called on school districts to support the teachers and other educators during the walkout.

“The women and men who work so hard to educate our children at our neighborhood public schools have earned a meaningful and sustainable pay raise that’s based on a real revenue source, not smoke and mirrors,” she said.

School districts around the state have begun informing parents that schools could be shut down by the end of next week. Madison Elementary School District, Alhambra Elementary School District and Mesa Public Schools are among the districts that have begun informing parents about the closures.

Madison district officials expect to announce Monday night what schools will close.

Related Stories

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• #RedForEd teachers protest low education funding in ‘walk-in’ demonstrations
• Ducey proposes 20% raise for teachers by 2020; Arizonans voice opinions on #RedForEd

 Before Thursday’s vote, Mesa Public Schools Superintendent Michael Cowen sent an email to teachers saying Arizona’s largest school district’s 64,000 students would be shut out of school until teachers return to their classrooms.

The Cartwright School District Governing Board is planning to close all 20 of the district’s campuses next Thursday if an agreement is not met with educators. More details would be made available Monday, officials said.

Paradise Valley School District officials told families in a letter Friday that student safety was the deciding factor in closing schools during the walkout.

“I have said all along that we will not put students and staff in an unsafe situation,” said a letter signed by Superintendent James Lee. “I believe the decision to close school is in the best interest of our students and staff.”

Alhambra Elementary superintendent Mark Yslas said in a letter to parents he anticipates a “large percentage of staff participating in this walkout” and plans to close all district schools next Thursday. However, he said district officials expect teachers to return to their classrooms by Friday.

Meanwhile, districts are working on how to provide for students during the walkout, including childcare services for younger children, handicapped students and meals for students who rely on school programs.

Walkout organizers said the protest has no definite end date, and will continue until the Legislature comes to the table on all five demands educators have made.

“We are underfunding our students,” said Noah Karvelis, a leader of Arizona Educators United. “We are throwing away an entire generation’s chance at academic success.”

The demands included the 20 percent pay increase for teachers; the restoration of education funding to 2008 levels; competitive pay for support staff members; a permanent ladder for wage increases based on experience; and a suspension of tax cuts until the state’s per-pupil funding reaches the national average. Leaders estimated Arizona spends $3,300 less per student.


  1. if you notice in the demands and statements by the idiots, not once is the word excellence mentioned. Its not about an excellent education its about more money. Like that alone is the magic elixir to fix the crumbling public school system. I call BS on the whole movement. You idiots, the LOCAL board and administration decides how money is to be spent, not the state. Don’t have any idea do you of how the real world works and you are teachers? Please give me a break.

    • Apparently no “Civics” teachers are involved in the walkout, otherwise they’d know the local school districts and school boards control teacher salaries and not the state.
      It’s comparable to Dingleberry blaming the state funding for Pima county’s non existent road maintence.

      The Oracle

    • I guess Ducey needs to take your civics class as well because he seems to think he and the state legislature have some power over teacher pay. Could it be that local school boards are limited in their funding options by both state and local funding?

      • You mean like diverting the majority of prop 123 funds away from teacher saleries and classroom funding to instead overstuff district coffers?
        It’s all controlled at the district level.

        The Oracle

  2. “We are throwing away an entire generation’s chance at academic success”. Patently false. Academic success cannot be paid for. You cannot buy it. Only the STUDENT controls their education. They have to WANT it. Abraham Lincoln is undoubtedly one of the most respected American ever. He was largely self taught with the support of his Step Mother. Young people, you want to learn? Really? Then read BOOKS. Read books about ideas, and the sciences. Read books on history (especially those featuring “dead white men” – aka “achievers”. Read the literary classics. My personal recommendation, “Atlas Shrugged”. When you go back to school, don’t play the game and for God’s sake don’t drink the koolaid. You are smart enough to know which teachers are really interested in teaching you (not “indoctrinating” – teaching!). Listen to them. Try desperately to avoid the teachers that make things too easy because they don’t care what you learn, since they’re only there for a paycheck. However, should you get stuck with a lousy teacher, well read a book.

  3. So let the teachers walk out. They can be with the students who seem to be able to walk out any time they want. Look at the money we can save by having classes held outdoors. Raze the buildings and sell off the land. Use the profits for the raises. Problem solved.

  4. Did these teachers sign a contract to teach? Did that contract have their pay in it? If the answer is yes, fire them for breach of contract!

  5. Victims, Dem’s need dem victims. How pathetic must it be to be a victim, especially one of dem victim’s.

  6. I hope dumbass Douchey wore his Ove-Glove when he vetoed bills on a state level to support teacher salaries, something controlled not by the state but by local school boards.
    Failed civics did we Doogie?

    On an informative note:
    The Arizona Ove-Glove. A political shield, or veto glove, is an insulated glove or mitten usually worn in the Govonors office to easily protect his veto hand from hot issues such as controversy, special interest, leadership and responsibility, etc. They are similar to, but different from, pot-holders and are exclusively available from the state capitol visitors gift shop.
    In an effort to further his “public service”, Gov. Douchey is currently attempting to fabricate the Ove-Boxers to protect those sensative areas from heat while fully protecting your ass, also under development and soon available only to members of the state legislature, the Ove-Suit to insulate the wearer head to toe from the harsh realities of corrupt politics.

    The Oracle

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