PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on teacher pay protests in Arizona (all times local):
Hundreds of red-shirted educators jammed into Capitol hearings rooms and marched around the Legislature to protest what they call dismal pay and conditions for their students.
The protesters at the Capitol Wednesday included dozens of teachers from nine schools in west Phoenix and Glendale who called in sick in the first job action teachers have taken since organizing earlier this month. The move left Pendergast Elementary School District parents scrambling as the schools were closed with little notice and hundreds of students missed a day of school.
The protest comes as educators try to persuade the Legislature and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to boost their pay significantly.
Adjusted for local cost of living, federal figures show elementary teachers in Arizona rank 50th in earnings nationally and high school teachers 49th. Arizona teachers were energized when West Virginia educators called a strike and won a 5 percent pay boost.
Nine schools in a 12-school elementary school district serving parts of Avondale, Glendale and Phoenix are closed because approximately 300 teachers are teachers are participating in a protest over pay.
Pendergast Elementary School District spokeswoman Nedda Shafir (shuh-FEER’) says school is out for thousands of students because Wednesday’s protest means the affected schools lacked enough teachers to supervise students.
Many of the teachers are at the Capitol in Phoenix to urge Gov. Doug Ducey and legislators to provide funding for teacher pay raises.
Shafir says some teachers called in sick while others took personal days.
The spokeswoman says the district supports its teachers and has provide pay raises ranging from 2 to 7 percent but did not organize or encourage the protest.
Teachers plan to gather at the state Capitol to protest their low pay, including some from west Phoenix schools who plan to skip their normal workday in a job action.
Wednesday’s protest comes as educators try to persuade the Legislature and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to boost their pay significantly.
Teachers in Arizona earn among the lowest salaries in the nation. Lawmakers and Ducey gave them a 1 percent raise last year and plan on awarding them another 1 percent in the budget being considered during the current legislative session.
Among those planning to attend the “Red for Ed” protect are teachers from the Pendergast Elementary School District in Glendale and north Phoenix. Teachers from at least three district school plan to call in sick and head to the Capitol.
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