Arizona, US | May 3
Arizona lawmakers pulled an all-nighter Thursday to enact a budget that provides big raises for many of the state’s striking teachers, potentially ending the five-day walkout that kept more than a million public school students out of the classroom.
The Senate passed the pay raises just before dawn, and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey immediately signed off on the plan to give teachers a 9 percent raise in the fall and 5 percent in each of the next two years. A 1 percent raise had already been approved, so the package ensures a 20 percent overall increase over four years.
Ducey said the teachers had earned a raise and praised the legislation as “a real win” for both teachers and students. The pay increases will cost about $300 million for the coming year alone.
The striking teachers, who are among the lowest paid in the country, kept watch at the state Capitol all night, packing the House and Senate galleries during the debate and holding a candlelight vigil in a courtyard. Some returned to the Capitol on Thursday as lawmakers continued debating the rest of the state’s $10.4 billion budget plan.
Organizers of the strike had called for classes to resume Thursday if the budget passed. But many large districts canceled school for a sixth straight day while lawmakers worked through the night.