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Arizona Teachers To Vote On Strike

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has offered teachers a 20 percent pay raise by 2020 after a movement sweeping local schools demanded it. 

The first step for Arizona Educators United (AEU), the group behind the statewide walk-ins and rallies, is to take a vote this week to see if teachers want a strike.

“They’ve been definitely telling us, ‘Hey, we’re ready to go any time you want,'" said Tucson teacher Derek Harris, one of the AEU leaders. "But we have to be sure we hear every voice and do it the right way.”

MORE: Organizer Believes Teachers Will Vote to Authorize Strike

Ducey’s plan is to raise teacher salaries by 9 percent next year, then to 20 percent by 2020. But educators are skeptical because the plan doesn’t include other staff like counselors. And, the funding plan is still to be determined. Harris said after a vote, the group could organize a teacher walkout soon, if the support is there.

Harris said with the Legislature and school ending soon, timing is crucial.

“We’re keeping a very close watch on the Legislature and how this vote goes through to make sure that whatever we do is precisely timed and advantageous,” Harris said.

Harris said there isn’t a strike date set. Organizers will look at votes of support by members of Arizona Educators United this week to see when a walkout could happen.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.