AZ teachers considering strike if school walk-ins don't prompt change in pay

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Even with peaceful demonstrations, little has change for Arizona teachers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Even with peaceful demonstrations, little has change for Arizona teachers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Teachers are calling for a 20 percent increase in pay because Arizona is currently ranked one of the lowest in the country for teacher income. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teachers are calling for a 20 percent increase in pay because Arizona is currently ranked one of the lowest in the country for teacher income. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Parents said they've tried to contact our state government, and were left on an empty phone line. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Parents said they've tried to contact our state government, and were left on an empty phone line. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Protest organizers said a strike is still on the table. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Protest organizers said a strike is still on the table. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Nearly 1,000 people were part of the “walk-ins” at Valley schools Wednesday morning.

“We need change right now,” said Noah Karvelis, an organizer of the “Red for Ed” movement.  

[RELATED: AZ teachers increase protests and rallies; threat of strike looming]

But even with peaceful demonstrations, that change has not happened.

“An assistant manager at QT can make more money than a teacher with a masters degree and 15 years experience,” said Kelly Romm, a local elementary school teacher in Paradise Valley.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Schools in crisis]

Teachers are calling for a 20 percent increase in pay because Arizona is currently ranked one of the lowest in the country for teacher income. Karvelis is calling on parents to get involved, too.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers demand 20 percent raises during statewide protests]

“The crucial person here is Gov. (Doug) Ducey and he hasn’t moved at all, so if you send one email or one call or you go to one office, I say go to Gov. Ducey,” said Karvelis.  

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

But parents said they've tried to contact our state government, and were left on an empty phone line.

“I’ve talked to some of the congressmen, not that I’ve talked to them but I’ve left messages and for our senators,” said Kristen Agnello, a Paradise Valley parent.

[INFOGRAPHICS: Average teacher salaries nationwide | Average teacher salaries in Arizona]

“Have you gotten calls back?” Briana Whitney asked.

“No, no. Not one? No,” said Agnello.  

[RELATED: After Gov. Ducey signs tax extension, teachers say it's not enough]

And teachers have actually showed up at state Senate Education Committee meetings, and have gotten a less than desired response.

“They’re canned responses. Like ‘thank you for your interest, we’ll look into it’ and of course, nothing happens,” said Christine Brandell-Melendez, a local high school teacher.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers organizing to fight for better pay]

So will they take more action and go on strike? It's not ideal, but may be necessary.

“I don’t know any teacher who wants to strike,” said Romm.

[READ MORE: Arizona teachers protest low pay at state Capitol]

"Nobody wants to, but do you think they would if nothing changes here with just the demonstration?" Whitney asked.

“You’ve got a very well-educated group of powerful people. Don’t put it past them to do what they need to do to get change,” said Romm.  

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

Click to learn more about Briana.

Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMA awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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