Teachers strike

Teachers and their supporters filled the gallery in the Arizona House Wednesday as lawmakers worked on the $10.4 billion state budget.

1. Ducey signed a budget that gives teachers a raise.

This morning, Gov. Doug Ducey signed parts of a spending bill that will give Arizona teachers about a 19 percent pay raise in the next three years. 

Educators originally expected the bill to pass yesterday and planned to return to classrooms Thursday. When it became apparent that the bill had stalled in the legislature, many teachers planned to continue the walkout into Thursday. 

The Senate and House passed the spending plan early Thursday after hours of debate. House Democrats voted against the bill, saying it didn't do enough for education in Arizona. 

Beyond the pay raise for teachers, the plan includes $100 million that schools could use for for other needs, such as bumping up pay for support staff, who don't get anything out of the teacher pay package. With the budget signed, schools hope this means teachers will return to classrooms in the coming days.

For more information about the spending plan, check out this story

2. Some schools opened. Some remain closed. 

The delayed approval of the budget incited some confusion yesterday, prompting some districts to recant plans to open Thursday. 

Marana Unified School District, Catalina Foothills School District and Amphitheater Public Schools changed plans and decided to stay closed today. 

Tucson Unified School District and Sunnyside Unified School District remain closed, following statements that they would open only after the end of the walkout. 

Vail School District, Sahuarita Unified School District, Tanque Verde Unified School District and Flowing Wells Unified School District stuck to plans to resume classes today or earlier this week. 

Sunnyside schools will reopen and classes will resume Friday, May 4.

We'll let you know when we know about other districts' Friday plans. 

3. TUSD homeowners pay extra.

The budget requires property owners in Tucson Unified School District to cover the cost of the district's desegregation tax. The state previously covered the $16-million cost, but now the expense would shift to property owners.

4. A ballot initiative could bring in more education dollars. 

Since the walkout didn't produce all of the results desired, organizers of the #RedForEd movement are encouraging educators to keep the momentum going by supporting a ballot initiative for the November election. If it gets on the ballot and voters approve it, the initiative would raise an addition $690 million for education by raising income taxes for Arizonans who make more than $250,000 a year. Read more about that here

5. Teachers are still rallying in Phoenix. 

Some teachers stayed overnight as the legislature debated the budget proposal. This morning, they've gathered in force at the Arizona Capitol for the sixth day of the walkout.