PHOENIX — Unable to convince Republicans to provide more cash for K-12 education, members of the #RedForEd movement are telling members to go back to work.
But not until Thursday. And not until lawmakers give final approval to the budget and teacher pay plan, now scheduled for Wednesday.
The movement already has scored several key victories, Noah Karvelis, one of the organizers of Arizona Educators United, said at a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol.
He said the Republican-controlled Legislature agreed last month to extend the 0.6-cent sales tax for education beyond its 2020 expiration date. That was not something that Gov. Doug Ducey was pushing when the session started in January.
More significant, Ducey has agreed to an average 9 percent pay hike for teachers for the coming school year, with a 5 percent increase the following year and an identical increase the year after that. By contrast, the budget the governor presented to lawmakers included just a one-time 1 percent increase.
Karvelis said that still leaves the #RedForEd movement far short of its original goals.
But he said that it has now become obvious that this is the best educators will get, at least this year. So that means it's time for teachers to return to classes — and their students — and begin work on the rest of the agenda.
That includes supporting an initiative to raise $690 million for education through a surcharge on the highest wage earners.
And Karvelis said that also means working politically to change the makeup of the Legislature — and perhaps even the governor's office.