Phoenix-area parents left to scramble for child care following teacher walkout

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Parents in Glendale, Avondale and Phoenix scrambled to figure out childcare after learning nine of twelve schools in the Pendergast Elementary School District closed Wednesday because not enough teachers showed up to work.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers protest low pay at state Capitol]

District spokesperson Nedda Shafir first told Arizona Family a total of 350 teachers called in sick. Later in the day, she recanted, saying final numbers Show an estimated 230 teachers.

They took the day off to march on the state capitol lawn and protest low teacher pay.

The district sent a robocall the night before explaining in part, “It’s come to our attention that teachers from our district are walking out,” said the voice mail. “If enough teachers choose to participate in this event, our schools will be understaffed and we will be unable to properly supervise all students safely,” explained.

[RELATED: Glendale elementary school teachers planning 'sick out' to protest low pay]

Tammy Volrich is upset by the teacher’s decision to ditch class.

She’s glad she gets to spend extra time with her grandson, but stood up for other families who didn’t have the convenience to find child care so quickly. Her daughter was at work and couldn’t watch the kids.

“There’s a lot of kids, either the parents would have to call in sick or they would have to go to a daycare which would cost the parents money,” said Volrich. “It’s also taking away from the kids learning. I mean, I don’t think it’s fair to the kids.”

Wednesday was a pre-scheduled early release day.

“Every day counts. Every hour counts,” explained Volrich.

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

She also has a hard time understanding why they want more pay.

“They only work nine months a year and they make $40,000 a year. I don’t know. I think that’s pretty good,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t make anywhere near that.”

Other families support teachers’ mission.

“I feel they have the right to you know fight for what they need and want,” said mom Delia Soto who didn’t mind her five kids having a day off of school. She didn’t believe the few hours of missed class instruction hurt their education.

“I’m not mad about it,” she said. “I don’t’ mind bringing my kids to the park.”

Crystal Garcia’s second grader goes to one of the three schools that didn’t cancel school Wednesday. She feels lucky now but worries about the future.

“What about next week? What about if this happens again and for how long? That’s what’s concerning,” said Garcia.

She believes teachers should be paid more, but wishes they could figure a different way to make their voices heard. 

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