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Arizona Education Association President Hopes Legislators Focus On School Funding Increases

Joe Thomas
Arizona Education Association
handout | contributor
Joe Thomas is the president of the Arizona Education Association which conduct a survey that found that 8 in 10 educators say schools should only reopen when it's safe.

Months before a new fiscal year begins for the state, Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas suspects legislators are not on the same page when it comes to education funding.

Thomas said it would take a lot for teachers to repeat last year’s strike, but isn’t ruling one out if lawmakers do not commit to better funding for education.

“We’re having difficulty hiring people in the state of Arizona, because we have a reputation that we don’t fund our schools very well," Thomas said.

"We have great kids in this state, great families that we serve," Thomas said. "We want to make sure we give them all the opportunities they deserve for a full education.”

Last year, teachers walked off the job before lawmakers passed Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan for 20 percent pay raises by 2020. This month typically serves as a home stretch of the legislative session.

After spending seven months as a news intern for KJZZ, Matt Kling returned in January 2019 as a general assignment reporter, mainly on the weekends.Kling’s radio career started when he joined Blaze Radio as freshman at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School. At Blaze Radio he has served as a host, producer and assistant production director. He’s also interned for KTAR before joining KJZZ in 2018.Kling also has extensive work in television production, working as a director, technical director and other positions for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS. Today, Kling serves as a newscast producer for Cronkite News. He anticipates graduation from the Cronkite School in May 2019.When he’s not working, you can find Kling out and about on the town, or in his downtown Phoenix apartment watching his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.