Some AZ teachers remain at Capitol concerned about last minute school voucher bills

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
"I think the teachers fear that now that their attention will start to wane after the budget has passed, it might give them an opportunity to sneak this in," said State Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix). (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "I think the teachers fear that now that their attention will start to wane after the budget has passed, it might give them an opportunity to sneak this in," said State Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix). (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Teachers have been out at the state Capitol all week fighting for more public education funding.

The last thing they want now is to see lawmakers, at the last minute,  expand the state's voucher program and shift more taxpayer dollars to private schools.

[RELATED: Teacher walkout officially over after Gov. Ducey signed education bills]

"I think the teachers fear that now that their attention will start to wane after the budget has passed, it might give them an opportunity to sneak this in," said State Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix).

Thousands of teachers decided not to go home Thursday, choosing instead to keep a close eye on lawmakers and watch what they do in the final hours of this legislative session.

[READ MORE: Arizona lawmakers begin budget debate]

There is a possibility that lawmakers could hold a last minute vote on SB1467, which would expand the number of students eligible for private school tax credits.

"It makes me question their strategy, and why they are doing what they are doing," said 3rd grade teacher Robin Mau. "I'm worried they might sneak a bill through."

[READ MORE: Arizona teachers vow to end strike if funding plan passes]

Beth Lewis, with the non-profit group Save our Schools, is also worried that lawmakers will decide at the 11th hour to block voters from deciding on Prop 305, the citizen initiative that will give voters the final say on vouchers this November.

"I think all 50,000 of us understand what we are up against," said Lewis. "There's no faith that this legislature will fully fund our public schools and not take a huge chunk for private schools."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Schools in Crisis]

So far, no voucher bills have been placed on the legislative calendar, as of 5 p.m. Thursday, but that could change at any time, said Quezada.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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