Bus driver, instructional aid, among support staff unpaid during teacher strike

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Support staff members aren't getting paid during the strike and have different opinions about it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Support staff members aren't getting paid during the strike and have different opinions about it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Hall is a math instructional aid and has been working in education for 17 years. She’s one of the thousands of support staff on strike for free. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Hall is a math instructional aid and has been working in education for 17 years. She’s one of the thousands of support staff on strike for free. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
“I do not agree with the strike,” said Schminski. “They have every right to do it, but they’re hurting the kids.” (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “I do not agree with the strike,” said Schminski. “They have every right to do it, but they’re hurting the kids.” (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
About 50,000 people rallied at the state Capitol. (Source: The Associated Press) About 50,000 people rallied at the state Capitol. (Source: The Associated Press)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

They’re fighting for change, but unsure when they’ll see their classrooms again.

“You don’t know you’re going to go back?” asked Briana Whitney.

“That is very sad. That is a hard step to take and it’s a family decision that you say, ‘I have to stand up for what I believe in,'” said Marthana Hall.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in crisis]

Hall is a math instructional aid and has been working in education for 17 years. She’s one of the thousands of support staff on strike for free.

“Were you paid today? No. Will you be paid tomorrow? No. Will you be paid Monday? No,” said Hall.

But she said she will do what it takes to get more money for her students, after seeing the decline in resources over the last decade. She said she’s so committed to the cause, that she’ll take any consequence if it means change.

[RELATED: 50,000 AZ teachers & supporters march, rally in historic strike]

 “It’s kind of like my last stand for education,” said Hall.

“You would take being fired to fight for this?” asked Briana Whitney.

“Correct,” said Hall.

Teachers aids, counselors and some nurses all fall under that support staff category, unpaid during this strike. That also includes bus drivers like Jerry Schminski.

[SLIDESHOW: Tens of thousands of teachers march for pay raise]

“It’s money I depend on,” said Schminski.

He’s in the same position as Hall, but with a very different opinion.

“I do not agree with the strike,” said Schminski. “They have every right to do it, but they’re hurting the kids.”

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

Schminski isn’t allowed to use paid time off during the strike, so each day it continues, he is at a loss. He’s angry legislators left the state Capitol Thursday, while 50,000 people rallied right outside.

[RELATED: Arizona school districts release plans for teacher walkout]

“I think it’s wrong. The legislators, we’re paying them to work this out. That’s what our tax dollars are supposed to be going for but they don’t care. They don’t care,” said Schminski.

[RELATED: Diane Douglas asking teachers to return to the classroom amid walkouts]

He said he hopes this strike ends soon before he’s forced to leave his kids behind for good.

“My wife said maybe I should start looking for a new job, but I love what I’m doing… I do,” said Schminski.

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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 EMMY 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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