Arizona Passes Teacher Pay Raises After Legislature Pulls All-Nighter
Arizona lawmakers pulled an all-nighter to enact a budget Thursday that provides big raises for many of the state's striking teachers, and Gov. Doug Ducey signed the teacher funding part while the House continued debating the rest of the state's $10.4 billion budget plan.
The Senate passed the teacher raise legislation just before dawn and the Republican governor immediately signed off on education funding that will give teachers a 9 percent raise in the fall and 5 percent in each of the coming two years. A 1 percent raise had already been approved, so the teachers will get a 20 percent overall increase over four years.
Striking teachers had held watch at the state Capitol all night, packing the House and Senate galleries as lawmakers debated and holding a candlelight vigil on the legislative courtyard.
Organizers of the unprecedented strike that shut down school for most of the state's 1.1 million public school students had called for teachers to go back to class Thursday if the budget passed. But many large school districts ended up canceling classes for a sixth straight day as the lawmakers worked through the night Wednesday into Thursday.