Monday, April 30, 2018

Ducey and GOP leaders agree on teacher pay deal, Goldwater Institute provides details (aka law suit)

Perhaps if you believe in Ducey in the Sky With Diamonds you might see hope in the report that Ducey, legislative leaders arrive at teacher pay deal. Sucker! “No details were divulged.”

Here’s the story from the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required).

Arizona House and Senate leaders have reached a deal with Gov. Doug Ducey on a plan to fund his proposal for a 20-percent pay hike for teachers, but they won’t disclose how they’ll pay for it.

After reiterating his vow to deliver on a pay raise even as teachers marched to the Capitol, Ducey issued a joint statement with House Speaker J.D. Mesnard and Senate President Steve Yarbrough on Friday afternoon that the plan is now a “reality.”

“Today, we are pleased to announce that this plan is a reality. Arizona is delivering on its commitment to our students and teachers,” the leaders said. (Scriber adds: and they said it with straight faces!)

But the announcement, which came on the heels of the “Red for Ed” movement announcing Arizona teachers will press on with their strike next week, didn’t include details. Leaders said they want to brief their members first. Leaders still have to persuade members to support the deal.

Teachers were wary of Ducey’s proposal because it didn’t include a new revenue source, and it relied on rosy economic projections for funding. Other critics noted that the plan, as originally proposed, would sweep funding from other programs to pay for the salary hike. They also doubted whether Ducey can get it through the Legislature.

Ducey makes promises he can’t keep, said “Red for Ed” leaders Joe Thomas and Noah Karvelis. All they have seen is a news release and a tweet from the governor, and that doesn’t indicate a deal, they said in a news release.

"We have no bill. We have no deal,” they said.

Meanwhile, back at the Goldwater Institute, the Koch-bots are threatening the teachers with a lawsuit. Howard Fischer reports Facing lawsuit threat, Arizona teach walkout continues today in the Daily Star.

Scriber’s take on the Goldwater Institute is that they are trying to bully the teachers thus letting the Phouls in Phoenix off the hook.

The walkout by teachers that started Thursday and has affected some 850,000 Arizona schoolchildren is an illegal strike, contends Timothy Sandefur, an attorney for the organization that litigates over conservative causes.

“Public school teachers in Arizona have no legal right to strike, and their contracts require that they report to work as they agreed,” he said.

But the real target of his legal threats are individual school districts, which he contends are facilitating walkouts. That includes everything from closing schools while the teachers and support staff are staying away to refusing to dock the pay of the absent teachers.

The bottom line, Sandefur said, is that not only makes school officials equally guilty of an illegal act but puts them in violation of their constitutional obligations to educate children.

So far, though, the majority of those districts that shuttered their schools starting last week have shown no signs of reversing course, at least for the moment.

In fact, Tim Ogle, executive director of the Arizona School Boards Association, said local board members who have made these decisions are doing the only legally defensible thing. It would be “irresponsible” to open a school building after administrators determines there would not be enough staff to safely supervise the students, much less actually try to conduct lessons, he says.

… the question of whether teachers are striking when they don’t show up at schools gets even trickier.

Many teachers who have not shown up at school are using “personal days,” something they are entitled to in their contracts. And even Sandefur acknowledged that teachers are, in fact, entitled to personal days and even sick days.

And while Gov. Doug Ducey has urged teachers to return to the classroom, he is not a supporter of resolving the issue in court.

“We are interested in solutions, not lawsuits,” press aide Daniel Scarpinato said Sunday.

I just wish he’d be as interested in that devil residing in the details.

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