Thousands Of Arizona Teachers March On Capitol To Demand Higher Pay
Thousands of teachers representing dozens of public school districts came out in red on Wednesday night on the Arizona Capitol lawn in Phoenix.
"Red for ed" was the slogan as educators came out in droves supporting demands for more pay and more money for the classrooms.
The group helping organize the rally, called Arizona Teachers United, issued three demands: restore education funding to 2008 levels; no new tax cuts until that happens; and a 20 percent pay raise for all teachers.
Like Centennial High School physics teacher Melissa Girmscheid, who has a master's degree and makes under $40,000 a year.
“I started in 2000, we made it on my salary. I took nine years off to be home with my kids and I come back and my pay really hasn’t increased since that time," said Girmscheid.
Girmscheid said her pay hasn’t gone up for cost of living since that time.
Arizona Teachers United organizer Noah Karvelis said those demands are serious.
"We’ve got thousands of educators and supporters gathered because our backs are against the wall and we need to see change," Karvelis said. "We can’t afford to keep teaching in this state, that’s the bottom line. We need to see better for our colleagues, we need to see better for our students, and we need to see that now."
Ralliers say while there is not a strike yet, it could be a future action to get those demands met.