But with no formal budget proposal in place, Arizona teachers voted on Thursday to go on strike after their demands weren't met and they are set to walkout again on Monday in an attempt to pressure the state legislature. But they would not answer questions about who is financing the effort, with Mesa high school teacher Joshua Buckley, chair of what's being called the Invest in Education Committee, said all that will have to wait until Monday.
The unions are above all determined to prevent the unification of the struggles of teachers in Arizona and Colorado, as this would threaten to develop into a much broader movement that would challenge the Democratic and Republican parties.
Statehouse reports discuss how the push for more education funding could impact other funding priorities and ballot initiatives this fall.
There was a sea of red at the Colorado Capitol Friday, as thousands of teachers marched for more school funding and protection for their pensions.
Even though classes were canceled at Denver Public Schools - the state's largest district - the popular Shakespeare Festival continued and some students even attended both the rally at the Capitol and paid tribute to the Bard himself.
Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, said that the starting salary for teachers in Arizona was about $35,000, which for many in the profession made paying off student loans or starting a family hard.
"Today, we are pleased to announce that this plan is a reality". "We've got these parents that are working and are going to be in a real jam in terms of what are they going to do with their kids". "It's directed out of our building, so we should pay attention to it and listen to them".
Arizona's Republican governor, Doug Ducey, has proposed 20 percent raises by 2020 but said he has no plans to meet with striking teachers or address other demands.
No word yet, if teachers will come back to Denver, in the next coming days.
However, they are not alone, students say the lack of money in classrooms also affects them. A nine-day strike in Oklahoma ended when support staff and teachers were promised a pay increase, and the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin agreed to new or higher taxes on oil and gas production, tobacco and motor fuels to help fund schools.
But Ducey told Capitol Media Services that he won't forswear future tax cuts. President and CEO Glenn Hammer said in a news release that there's "never a good time" to raise income taxes on small businesses and employees.
All that comes as leaders of Arizona Educators United and the Arizona Education Association made a last-minute pitch late Wednesday for Ducey and lawmakers to come up with something more. "We have no deal", they said. "The devil is in the details".
Teachers are important. They inspire us and, in some cases, can change the trajectory of our lives.
The same day, a union official filed paperwork for an initiative to raise state taxes on incomes over $250,000. Whether the strike continues into next week at other schools in the state appears to be unclear at this point.
Several of the participants asked how they could support the school workers. But that scene, if it were typical, would feature fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks - not the teachers who gathered near the baseball stadium with quite another event in mind. In order to stave off a teachers strike, legislators in that state approved a $6,100 pay increase, far short of the $10,000 teachers demanded.
Legislatures tempted to dismiss the recent strikes as anomalies should reconsider.
Eason: I don't see a way to avoid that fight. "So, I think. we will have to repeal the increase in the minimum salary schedule". Whether he will return to the Capitol on Monday as the union leader suggested is unclear. The AEA has already endorsed Democrat David Garcia for governor. The statewide teachers' strike in West Virginia shut down schools for nearly two weeks.