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#RedForEd Educators Say Passed Arizona Budget Falls Short, Rally For 6th Day

Supporters of the #RedForEd movement gathered for a sixth day to rally at the state Capitol on Thursday.

After keeping vigil over late-night budget talks, supporters of an increase in teacher pay remained at the statehouse for another day of classroom walkouts.

Despite Gov. Doug Ducey signing a bill Thursday morning to raise teacher salaries, #RedForEd demonstrators say it’s not enough.

Stephen Geislinger from Scottsdale Unified School District has been at the Capitol every day of the walkouts.

“This is a group of people standing for our most at-risk population — the students — and we are together and we will remain together until we adequately fund public education in the state," said Geislinger.

#RedForEd Strike: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Geislinger said they’ll be watching closely as the Legislature puts the final touches on the budget.

He said next steps for the movement include getting signatures for the Invest In Education Act ballot initiative as well as supporting candidates in the upcoming elections and turning out the vote.

Quicha Ward is an instructional assistant with the Balsz School District. She’s been at the Capitol every day of the walkouts to represent her support staff colleagues.

“We are the janitors. We’re talking about cafeteria ladies. We’re talking about bus monitors. We’re talking about bus drivers. We’re talking about crossing guards and everything else," she said.

Ward said she’s concerned that support staff aren’t included in the new bill to raise teacher pay signed by Gov. Ducey.

She said it's important to show legislators that all the employees working in education in Arizona are standing together. Ward said they’ll continue the #RedForEd movement on to the elections this fall.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.