Arizona PTA Leader Drops Support For Ducey's Teacher Pay Raise Proposal

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 8:49am
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 - 9:30am
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey addresses media at a press conference on April 12, 2018, announcing his education funding plan.

On the eve of a final vote for a statewide teachers' strike, one of the key backers behind Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's proposed funding plan for the 20 percent pay hike backed down.

In the past two days, after standing in solidarity with the governor on his teacher pay raise proposal, Beth Simek of the Arizona Parent-Teacher Association found it unsustainable.

Specifically, she cannot support Ducey's line-item vetoes on funding for Arizona's lower-income families.

"The cuts to AHCCCS, for the Department of Economic Security for skilled nursing, critical access to hospitals, the developmentally disabled funding — we can't support that. That hurts kids and it hurts families," said Simek .

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato clarified that the proposed vetoes do not reduce existing funds from those programs.

RELATED: AZ Teachers Have Mixed Feelings Over #RedForEd Strike

"We've built a really strong coalition," Scarpinato said, before listing educators who are on board with the governor's plan. "It includes the education community. It includes the superintendents. It includes education champions."

He said the executive team continues to work hard to get the proposal planned and better paychecks for teachers before the next school year.

Simek said she remains skeptical going forward, mainly because none of the budget impact was disclosed to her when she was asked to support Ducey's plan.

Her decision to no longer support the governor's proposal comes as tens of thousands of public teachers are set to vote on whether to strike around the state.

Simek advised teachers to follow their heart, understanding that some cannot afford to strike and lose their income, while others will feel so strongly that it is morally necessary to leave campuses in a show of force.

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