Schools are returning to normal for hundreds of thousands of students across the state after a six-day teacher walkout ended—the state legislature passed a $10.4-billion budget that includes $300 million for teacher pay raises. As of press time, Gov. Doug Ducey only signed the education portion of that budget, which starts July 1.
Public school educators walked out on Friday, April 27 and held marches throughout the state in their well-organized Red for Ed protest. About 50,000 marched on the State Capitol in Phoenix on Friday and the following Monday to protest low teacher and support staff pay, overly large class sizes and UNDERFUNDED schools.
The walkout forced most school districts to close. Most schools, though, continued offering their free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches so students who relied on those meals wouldn’t go hungry.
Without schools to go to, many families were left scrambling to fill their kids’ days. The walkout may have boosted business for family-oriented places.
“My sisters and I had a softball game, and then I went to a Girl Scout sleepover; we went Tohono Chul Park and saw reptiles and things, then we went to Paint Youself Silly. Monday our grandma’s going to watch us,” says Rori Divijak, a fourth-grader at Quail Run Elementary.
She and her mom, the principal at Quail Run, hoped the teachers and schools would get what was needed.
Arizona Desert Elementary second-grader Denys Aguilera was sent homework while not at school! “We are going back…I’m excited to be back at school,” she says. Both students missed their friends and teachers.