Lawmakers working on education funding bill at Capitol over the weekend

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Teacher protests continued Saturday (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teacher protests continued Saturday (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Teacher protests continued Saturday (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teacher protests continued Saturday (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

“We reached a deal yesterday; we’re going to spend next week trying to make it a reality.”

It's a reality that House Speaker JD Mesnard knows teachers fear won't happen.

“We’re still finalizing the budget, the overall budget,” said Mesnard.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona schools in crisis]

But he said this weekend, lawmakers are working at the Capitol to make sure education funding bills are on the table next week.

Friday, Governor Ducey announced a new deal that calls for a 20 percent increase for teachers by 2020, permanent and ongoing raises with inflation, 100 million additional dollars for support staff increasing over the next five years, and no tax increase.

[RELATED: 'It's official: We have a deal!' Gov. Ducey announces deal for 20% teacher raise]

But Red for Ed supporters said they've seen no bill yet and don't trust the government to follow through with something sustainable. But Mesnard said lawmakers have figured that out within the general fund.

“The main difference is how we pay for this. There was some concern about if this is all based on economic projection, what happens if the economy doesn’t do as well as we hoped, so we scaled back the projections and it’s based on more certain revenue sources, so that should give greater certainty that this is real,” said Mesnard.

Since Thursday, thousands of teacher and supporters have been rallying in downtown Phoenix for better pay and more school funding.

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

[RELATED: 1 day after Ducey announces deal, teachers rally along Phoenix street]

But while Mesnard has spoken with teachers and superintendents to hear out their concerns, we asked him why he hasn't met with Red for Ed organizers like AEA President Joe Thomas. He said he doesn't agree that they began this movement by endorsing a candidate for governor.

“It’s really hard to separate them from the political operatives I consider them to be. I like Joe, I get along with him and the other folks at the AEA, but I don’t consider them necessarily representative of all these folks,” said Mesnard.

Thomas gave us this statement in response Saturday that reads:

“It’s disappointing that the speaker is choosing to ignore over 100,000 educators and their supporters who came to the capitol to advocate for our students. We will be there again Monday. We hope he hears us then.”

[VIDEO: Gov. Doug Ducey appears live on 3TV newscast Friday evening]

[VIDEO: Gov. Doug Ducey appears live on CBS 5 newscast Friday evening]

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

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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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