Local educators keep the pressure on for more funding
KINGMAN – Educators and students across the state are pushing for more funding for education overall, and educators are planning to walkout Thursday from their classrooms to advocate for properly funded education.
Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed a 20 percent teacher pay increase by 2020, but his plan doesn’t support increasing education funding overall.
Para-professionals and students have expressed their concerns over the funding of education. Sue Ratliff, a special education para-professional at Kingman Academy of Learning, has been working side by side with teachers on a daily basis and sees the conditions a teacher works in.
“They’re using old books, our teachers are buying things out of their own pocket,” Ratliff said. “Sometimes a student needs a new pair of shoes and sometimes teachers go that far.”
Nic Depner, a sophomore at Kingman Academy High School is in support of what his teachers are doing to advocate for better learning conditions.
“We have pretty crappy books,” Depner said. “Just yesterday we were using our English workbooks, half of them the pages are ripped out. We need new supplies.”
Kingman Academy of Learning is in support of their teachers and staff and will close schools Thursday and resume classes on Monday.
Susan Chan, executive director for KAOL, said in a letter to parents that #RedforEd is not only for teacher pay increases but for all aspects of education such as textbook replacement and building repairs.
Kingman Unified School District is also in support of their educators for the #RedforEd movement and will close all schools today except for Mt. Tipton in Dolan Springs and La Senita (Little Explorers) but will be a work day for all school employees. KUSD administration will decide by 2 p.m. Thursday about resuming class on Monday.
Roger Jacks, superintendent at KUSD, said in a letter to parents, if the walk out continues, graduation, prom, senior trips and awards will take place as scheduled.
Teachers in the state of Arizona are some of the lowest paid in the country.
According to data from Expect More Arizona, elementary teachers in the state rank No. 49 in the country for pay. KUSD teachers as of fiscal year 2017-2018 their starting salary is $35,600.
“If the teachers feel supported we are going to have a better future down the road,” Ratliff said.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday and Friday on Stockton Hill Road between Airway and Kino avenues educators will be displaying a “sea of red” in support for the #RedforED movement and the walkout. Event organizers encourage a lot of photos on social media with the hashtags #REDforED and #KingmanUnited.