Diane Douglas asking teachers to return to the classroom amid walkouts

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Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Thousands of teachers and supporters will rally at the state Capitol during the teacher walkout. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Thousands of teachers and supporters will rally at the state Capitol during the teacher walkout. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

As teachers march to the Captiol Thursday morning to rally for better pay and more school funding, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is speaking out against the walkouts. 

"We need to get teachers back into the classroom immediately. I implore them to go back tomorrow," Douglas told Arizona's Family Thursday morning. 

[RELATED: Arizona teachers to rally at Capitol during walkout]

Douglas came out against the walkout when it was announced last Thursday with a statement asking teachers to reconsider. She says that the governor and the legislature are already working to get them the raise they have asked for and that a "strike prior to that resolution being worked out is premature at best." 

[READ MORE: Superintendent reacts to planned teacher walkout]

Teachers say that Ducey's proposal of the 20 percent raise by 2020 is not enough because it doesn't include a raise for support staff and it doesn't restore education funding as they have demanded.

Joe Thomas, president of the AEA, said 78 percent of the teachers voted for a walkout. About 57,000 teachers submitted ballots.

[RELATED: Governor to Arizonans: Tell your legislators to vote for proposed teacher pay raise]

"We have to come to a resolution. The reality is in negotiations, nobody gets everything they want," Douglas said. 

Douglas went on to say that her role as the Superintendent is to provide for the families and the students and to make sure they get through "this strike crisis that has been created in our state." 

Douglas has said that what the teachers are doing is illegal and that they may get something on their permanent records that says they walked off the job. 

[READ MORE: 'Stay on the job!' AZ school superintendent urges teachers not to strike]

"I wouldn't be doing my due diligence if I didn't tell them the possible consequences for their actions," Douglas said. "Striking in Arizona is illegal...it's a shame that it's come to this...to say that I don't support teachers in my opinion is not fair. I absolutely do, but I can not and will not support illegal activities on the part of our teachers."

She said that she has been advocating for teachers since she was voted into office and that she released a plan a year ago to give teachers an 11 percent raise and a way to fund it. 

Douglas said she represents the students and the families who may be hurt by the walkouts. 

[RELATED: Where to take your child during teacher walkouts]

So far teachers say they will walk out on Friday, April 26 as well, but there is no word on exactly how long the walkout will last. 

Stay with azfamily.com for continuing coverage on the Arizona teacher walkouts. 

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