9 Glendale elementary schools closed amid teachers protest

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Pendergast Elementary School District officials confirmed that nine schools in the district were closed Wednesday due to a planned protest in the form of a 'sick-out' by teachers.

District spokeswoman Nedda Shafir confirmed that nine schools were closed Wednesday because there is not enough staff available amid the protests.

The following nine schools were closed Wednesday, March 21: 

  • Desert Mirage
  • Canyon Breeze
  • Garden Lakes
  • Sunset Ridge
  • Sonoran Sky
  • Villa de Paz
  • Amberlea
  • Desert Horizon
  • Pendergast

The district initially estimated that about 350 teachers called out sick. At about 5 p.m., it revised that number down to 230.

Shafir said that while the district supports its teachers, staff and students, it in no way endorsed this action. She said that the district would make adjustments as needed if teachers do call out, and also explained that Wednesday is a pre-planned early-release day for its schools.

The impetus for Wednesday's walkout is the recent nine-day teacher strike in West Virginia. At issue is teacher pay. 

Arizona ranks near the bottom nationwide when it comes to teacher salaries.

Also happening Wednesday, the Arizona Education Association hosted another rally at the Arizona Capitol. It held a similar rally last week. According to AEA's Facebook page, that rally was meant "to stop the expansion of private school tax credits."

The teachers participating in Wednesday's sick out were at the Capitol for the event.

Earlier this month, hundreds of people wearing red gathered outside a Phoenix radio station to protest low teacher pay. Gov. Doug Ducey was at the radio station at the time. The demonstration was part of the growing #REDforEd campaign.

[READ MORE: Hundreds protest low teacher pay at Phoenix radio station]

The demonstration at the radio station happened just a few days after thousands of Arizona teachers wore red to demonstrate their solidarity as they push for a raise.

[RELATED: AZ teachers wear red in push for pay raise; future strike a possibility]

Just last week, a Paradise Valley teacher made headlines when she posted on Facebook about her projected salary for the next year, calling it nearly unlivable.

[RELATED: State has budget surplus but no promises for more teacher pay raises]

[RELATED: Teachers argue for tax cut windfall to finance pay raises]

Shafir said that Pendergast has given its employees raises on top of what the state offers. She said those raises are broken down by years on the job.

Seven-plus years = 7 percent
Four to six years = 5 percent
One to three years = 2 percent

The Pendergast Elementary School District has schools in Phoenix, Glendale and Avondale. It serves about 10,000 students in pre-school through eighth grade.

One of the 12 Pendergast schools, Sunset Ridge is located at 84th and Missouri avenues in Glendale.


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