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Teachers set for days of rallies at Capitol

Teachers at Humphrey Elementary school participate in a state-wide walk-in prior to classes Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Chandler, Ariz. Arizona teachers are demanding a 20 percent pay raise and more than $1 billion in new education funding. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Teachers at Humphrey Elementary school participate in a state-wide walk-in prior to classes Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Chandler, Ariz. Arizona teachers are demanding a 20 percent pay raise and more than $1 billion in new education funding. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona Educators United have permission to rally at the Capitol all day Friday and most of next week.

The reserved space at the Capitol comes as the group behind the Red for Ed movement holds a vote on whether to strike. Voting began on Tuesday and is slated to continue until 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The legislative calendar online shows Red for Ed rallies are to be held from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. on April 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27. Events were already scheduled for April 26.

The legislative calendar online shows Red for Ed rallies are to be held from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. on April 20, 23, 24, 25 and 27. Events were already scheduled for April 26.

An announcement on the results and subsequent action is not expected until Friday.

“We are preparing for all options” said AEU organizer Noah Karvelis in a text to the Arizona Capitol Times.

He would not say if this is a sign that AEU leaders anticipate members of the group will vote to walk out of schools in protest of low-teacher pay and despite Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed 20 percent teacher pay raise by 2020.

“I won’t know until I see the results,” Karvelis said. “We have a massive group so it is difficult to gauge.”

Legislative counsel Michael Braun said the group made the request earlier this week. The group announced Sunday that a vote would be held this week.

On Wednesday, the movement’s leaders were vague about what type of tally or margin would trigger a walk-out.

For example, would 50 percent plus one in favor of a strike be enough?

“We have numbers that we are looking at, but we are keeping them internal for the time being,” Karvelis said.

Those numbers are “primarily percentages” – as opposed to total votes on each side – “but if we have startlingly low total votes that would also need to be considered,” he said.

Derek Harris, another leader in the Red for Ed movement, said the leadership team is still deciding how the final call will be made.

“It just depends on what the votes are as to how that will play out,” he said in an email. “We have to make a smart, safe decision.”

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