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Arizona teachers not ruling out second Red for Ed walkout over school funding

Posted at 6:33 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 23:56:52-05

PHOENIX — One year after Arizona teachers went on a six-day strike demanding higher pay and more funding, could we see another one?

Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas says it's a possibility. He tells ABC15 some teachers in the state are disturbed by numerous bills going through the legislature this session. He says some bills focus more on regulating teachers inside the classroom, rather then actually providing more funding for them.

"It's disappointing that instead of focusing on our students and their needs we have legislators that have these ridiculous bills that don't make sense to anybody," Thomas said.

Last year's walkout resulted in more than $300 million in funding for teacher raises, and a pledge from Governor Ducey to raise educational salaries by 20 percent by 2020.

Thomas says after seeing teachers in West Virginia go on strike, many are asking him if Arizona will be next.

"I think a walkout is a possibility but I think that a lot of things would happen between now and then before teachers saw that as the only possibility," Thomas said. "What they really want is for the legislators to focus on the funding they really need."

Thomas says educators are asking for lawmakers to find a way to give $700 million back to schools, in order to reach 2008 spending levels.

"If they continue to ignore the teacher crisis and they continue to ignore teachers needs I think more options are on the table," Thomas said.