AVONDALE, AZ - West Valley fifth graders are keeping the pressure on Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to better fund public school education by sending a binder of their letters to his office Monday.
About 150 Garden Lakes Elementary students, in the Pendergast Elementary School District, dropped off the letters during a field trip to the Arizona State Capitol. They started their writing assignment last month after their teachers staged a sick-out.
"I came back, and our students wanted to know 'Ms. Walker, where did you go? Why did we see you on TV?'" Garden Lakes teacher Vicki Walker said. "That day, I taught the First Amendment about freedom of speech."
The student's letters ask for teacher raises. They also expressed worry about security. They want a school resource officer. They also asked for more money to fix broken playground equipment, replace decade-old computers, and buy basics like textbooks.
"My math teacher doesn't have any textbooks," Garden Lakes student Jazmyn De Leon said. "All we have is our marker board, our marker, and our notes, and that's all we use."
With the threat of a statewide teacher strike seeming more real, the students urge the governor to be a hero.
Last week Ducey proposed a 20 percent teacher pay raise over three years, but Arizona Educators United leaders said the proposal did not meet enough teacher demands.