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Teachers in Arizona and Colorado are rallying for school funding

Educators in Arizona and Colorado on Thursday are taking to the streets, calling out lawmakers for what they say is t...

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 7:32 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 7:32 PM

Educators in Arizona and Colorado on Thursday are taking to the streets, calling out lawmakers for what they say is too little investment for far too long in their paychecks and their classrooms.

Spurred by the recent efforts of teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, teachers in Arizona are walking out of their classrooms, while Colorado's teachers are rallying at their state Capitol.

Dozens of school districts across both states were expected to be closed Thursday.

Arizona's first teacher walkout

Arizona's public school teachers planned to walk out after weeks of voicing their dissatisfaction over pay and educational funding. It's the first teacher walkout in the state's history.

Educators in 90 districts were expected to walk out Thursday, with between 30,000 and 50,000 teachers participating, according to the Arizona Educators United grassroots coalition.

Though the governor weeks ago announced a proposal to raise teacher pay over the next three years, educators say it's not enough.

Arizona Educators United wants a 20% raise for teachers by next school year and yearly raises after that until Arizona's teacher salaries reach the national average. The group also wants Arizona to restore education funding to 2008 levels, while Gov. Doug Ducey has offered to restore $371 million in cuts over five years.

Ducey on Thursday reiterated his intention to secure 20% raises, saying in a statement that teachers must be "respected, and rewarded, for the work they do -- and Arizona can do better on this front."

Ducey, a Republican, encouraged students' parents to call their lawmakers to ask them to vote "yes" on the proposal. His statement did not address educators' other demands.

The Arizona American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, on Wednesday offered its own proposal, which it said would pay for school funding and teacher raises.

The state branch of the national union called for a 2.5% statewide tax on certain now-untaxed services, such as haircuts and legal services, that would raise $2.65 billion each year, according to a news release.

The money could be used to maintain school buildings, provide classroom supplies, fund kindergarten programs and provide salary increases to all school staff, the AFT said.

"Our students, educators, parents and communities have been backed up against a wall for more than a decade," Arizona AFT President Ralph Quintana said in the statement.

Colorado teachers plan 2 days of action

In Colorado, crowds of educators and their allies -- wearing red -- converged Thursday on the Capitol steps. At least 25 school districts were closing Thursday or Friday, according to the Colorado Education Association.

Some of those districts had teacher work days planned, but a majority of them were closing because educators had called in to take personal days, and districts were short on substitutes, CEA Vice President Amie Baca-Oehlert said.

Sharon Roybal, a high school teacher in the Jefferson County School District, told CNN that she and her colleagues aren't given the resources to do their jobs efficiently.

"We are a high school of over 2,100 students," she said. "We have two copiers. One is broke as we speak."

"We have a staff of 85 teachers. We are waiting in line to make copies," Roybal said.

State budget writers have set aside $100 million for education funding, but teachers say they need more, The Denver Post reported.

The state has not kept up with a constitutional mandate to increase school funding each year by at least the rate of inflation, the CEA says. But raising taxes to pay for that is difficult because the state's 1992 taxpayer bill of rights requires that voters approve any tax hikes.

Colorado's average teacher salary ranks 31st in the country, according to the National Education Association. The group says low pay and funding means working in Colorado's schools is less attractive to college graduates and prompts teachers to leave the profession early, leading to a shortage of qualified teachers.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1462456

Reported Deaths: 20308
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2005922494
Lake992001456
Allen903391005
Hamilton70705539
St. Joseph63078746
Elkhart48098622
Vanderburgh46217523
Tippecanoe42115330
Johnson37119516
Hendricks35078455
Porter33900460
Madison28036530
Clark25186321
Vigo24768341
LaPorte22894307
Monroe22201243
Howard21344372
Delaware20937363
Hancock18289217
Kosciusko17513199
Bartholomew17399212
Warrick16060212
Wayne15757296
Floyd15399252
Grant14898293
Morgan13934230
Boone13172136
Noble11421140
Dearborn11355112
Henry11312201
Shelby11231150
Marshall11041166
Dubois10782152
Jackson10174104
DeKalb9944128
Cass9942142
Lawrence9914219
Huntington9823139
Gibson9131125
Montgomery9005140
Knox8762124
Harrison8718111
Whitley844771
Steuben8340102
Jasper8069113
Putnam795197
Clinton792994
Miami7914133
Wabash7598138
Jefferson7551124
Ripley6993111
Adams6508101
Scott629086
Daviess6266127
White602379
Greene5913111
Clay587173
Wells5814120
Decatur5754118
Jennings572276
Fayette5657121
Posey529146
LaGrange512996
Randolph4925128
Washington482067
Owen480398
Fountain463579
Spencer438156
Starke434086
Sullivan432164
Fulton426790
Orange412682
Jay403964
Rush395736
Carroll371349
Franklin369850
Perry362155
Vermillion345062
Pike308945
Tipton307974
Parke305038
Pulaski266973
Blackford266755
Newton228359
Brown222654
Benton213321
Crawford211231
Switzerland189414
Martin181921
Warren169520
Union163619
Ohio119516
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2403645

Reported Deaths: 30922
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2596932036
Cuyahoga2572672998
Hamilton1666711699
Montgomery1103831586
Summit1066861382
Lucas895171149
Butler78647924
Stark747301383
Lorain62885783
Warren49934468
Mahoning49735909
Lake46850586
Clermont43541428
Delaware38876210
Trumbull38576748
Medina37611416
Licking36901401
Fairfield33848331
Greene32124416
Portage31381356
Clark30277440
Richland28251420
Wood27660289
Allen24372392
Miami22806389
Muskingum22298244
Columbiana22095399
Wayne21275354
Tuscarawas18847423
Erie18041221
Ashtabula17932338
Marion17503231
Scioto16553203
Ross16163249
Pickaway15536173
Hancock15251227
Geauga15244221
Lawrence13847186
Huron13399182
Union1329683
Belmont13255247
Jefferson12864257
Sandusky12770197
Athens11949106
Knox11511195
Seneca11454200
Ashland10795174
Darke10673196
Washington10564168
Auglaize10152141
Crawford9854175
Shelby9699155
Brown9400140
Fulton9235148
Guernsey9109115
Defiance9057134
Highland9035143
Logan8955141
Clinton8719121
Mercer8640111
Madison8568104
Preble8002160
Williams7848135
Putnam7731135
Ottawa7629120
Champaign7556112
Jackson7383114
Perry714598
Coshocton7043136
Morrow694580
Fayette662287
Hardin6219125
Pike617086
Gallia594989
Adams5779124
Van Wert5779120
Henry565592
Hocking5521103
Carroll4828100
Wyandot482289
Holmes4747161
Paulding401163
Meigs375071
Monroe299368
Noble279851
Harrison279461
Morgan276848
Vinton239845
Unassigned08
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