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Deer Valley Unified School District said this evening it will reopen all schools on Thursday, May 3, following an announcement by #RedForEd leaders that teachers should go back to classrooms if the proposed state budget is passed as expected. The legislature is expected to vote on the budget, dealing with increased education funding and teacher pay, Wednesday.
“We have been working every day to confirm that we have enough certified staff (teachers) to safely reopen school,” DVUSD Superintendent Curtis Finch said in a letter to parents. “We have been in constant contact with staff and polled teachers several times. Unfortunately, a parent posted a link to the most recent poll on social media. That has likely compromised the results. We do not feel confident that future polls will provide accurate information.
“Therefore, tomorrow we will hold a teacher work-day to prepare for our students to return on Thursday. Based on staff attendance at school tomorrow, we will be able to plan for classroom coverage to safely hold school Thursday. This teacher work-day will replace the teacher work-day that was scheduled at the end of the school year.
“Once schools reopen, we will complete a revised school year calendar. As soon as it is approved, the revised calendar will be emailed to parents and posted on the website. We will continue to appeal to the state to avoid holding make-up days, however, the state has not indicated any willingness to waive this law.”
“We feel confident that we’ll have 75 percent” of teachers present on Thursday, district spokesperson Monica Allread told North Phoenix News.
UPDATE Wednesday, May 2: Leaders of the #RedForEd movement said they did not achieve their ultimate goals, but that it was time to accept what they felt was possible at this time. The state budget now calls for increased funding for teacher pay as well as money for support staff, plus supplies, equipment and building maintenance—but at lower levels than educators had sought. Much of the decision-making about how to actually spend the money will be in the hands of district superintendents, leaving questions about how it will all play out.
The Arizona Education Association, one of two primary groups leading #RedForEd, encouraged teachers and other supporters to vote this fall for legislators who would support their effort to improve education funding, an effort they made clear is not over:
“This budget falls far short of the $1 billion that was taken from Arizona students, but it’s time to go back to the classroom and regroup to get our students the funding and schools they deserve,” the AEA said in a tweet today.