PHOENIX – Saying he will not offer anything else, Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that the teachers' strike will end when they realize he made a good offer and everyone will go back to work.
The governor told Capitol Media Services his plan to increase teacher salaries by 19 percent in the 2020-2021 school year fulfills his promise of a significant salary increase. The first $ 100 million of $ 371 million is also restored, which legislators have diverted from additional aid to schools.
Ducey said his offer meets the key demand of the groups of educators whose members voted last week to leave. 19659004] "So you know it has been delivered," he said. "And it's time to move on."
As of today, however, Ducey can not even promise that. Republican lawmakers have not yet approved their proposal, refusing their argument that the package can be financed in large part by the growth of the economy.
In fact, House Speaker JD Mesnard said Wednesday that lawmakers are working on "a massive teacher payment" to pose, "there is no guarantee that lawmakers, concerned about the cost of the package, will adopt Ducey's plan for a 9 percent increase this coming school year and additional 5 percent increases in each of the next two years.
"I'm still working on that," said Mesnard.
"But what it ends up being will be at least something close, if not that, "he explained." I think we're all trying. "to find out if we can make that work specifically. & # 39; & # 39 ;.
This happens when the Arizona Educators United leaders and the Arizona Education Association made a last-minute launch on Wednesday night for Ducey and lawmakers to present something else.  That starts with some security where the funds will be there. com groups The concern of some Republicans is that the governor's estimates of higher tax revenues and lower social services expenditures are, at best, speculative.
But AEA president Joe Thomas said there are other demands, including that of getting teacher salaries up to the national median – he would not get there, even with Ducey's offer, and waiving new corporate tax cuts until the financing per student reaches the national average.
The most recent figures from Governing magazine put funds per student in Arizona at $ 7,205 from all sources, compared to a national average of $ 11,392.
That also comes after lawmakers voted earlier this decade to cut corporate income tax rates by 30 percent on guarantees that it would grow the economy. But the corporate tax collections that were $ 663 million in 2015 will be $ 252 million in this budget year.
But Ducey told Capitol Media Services he will not give up future tax cuts.
"The reason why our state is growing so much, the reason why people come here, the reason why people are fleeing California, because our economy is growing, is because we have a great place to live, work, play and do business, "said the governor. Much of that is due to the attractive tax climate of the state.
"We can do that and address the payment of teachers," said Ducey. "And that's what we're doing".
While acknowledging that teachers will leave today and Friday, many schools are already closed in advance, the governor specifically said he expects them to return next week.
"If we move a 20 percent increase to teachers and there is a strike in progress, that does not make sense," Ducey said.
"We're supposed to be here for the children, inside the classrooms." "Continuous." We have these parents who are working and are going to be in a real bind in terms of what they are going to do with their children. "
But Noah Karvelis, one of the organizers of Arizona Educators United, said that what the governor does not understands is that the decision of 78 percent of the 57,000 teachers and support staff who voted to retire is not about themselves or even their salaries.
"If we do not defend our children at this time, who will? ? & # 39; & # 39;, he asked.
Less clear is how long educators are prepared to stay out.
Ducey left aside questions about whether he can offer them something more as an incentive to return to the classroom.
"A salary increase of 20 percent by 2020 I believe is a victory for teachers, for children and for the state of Arizona." – said the governor. "And that's what we're going to deliver."
Thomas said the first step is the strike, including a march on the Capitol.
"We will raise our voices in a way that they can not ignore." He said.
That still leaves the question of what Thomas thinks the strike will achieve.
"How it ends depends on the governor and even those legislative leaders," Thomas said.
"If they are brave, if they have the political capital to come and talk to us, we all win, the students they get a victory, educators can go back to their classrooms and we can go ahead and end the year strongly, "he said." But the ball is in the governor's court and it's been over a month. "
Thomas noted that he and Karvelis sent a letter to Ducey requesting a meeting to discuss the list of demands Ducey has refused to meet with either of them, saying he is talking to individual teachers who are also members of both organizations.
And what about public support?
"We want parents to understand that this fight is for their son," Thomas said, and said parents will stay with educators, even until next week, "as long as we can m to show them that this struggle is still about the students "