The same week teachers threatened to strike, Gov. Doug Ducey announced his plan to give them the 20 percent raise they demand. He wants the legislature to approve a 9 percent raise next school year, along with gradual raises annually that would add up to a 20 percent pay increase by the 2020 school year. According to Ducey, the projected average teacher salary would be $58,130.
His proposal came after teachers staged walk-ins across Arizona, where they called attention to their demands and then walked in to schools to teach. Organizers with the group Arizona Educators United said they may announce a walk-out if their requests went ignored.
The governor said he plans to work with state lawmakers on a final budget in the coming days. He's also meeting with community educational leaders that include the Pima County Superintendent of Schools Dustin Williams.
Prior to the governor's announcement, Williams told Lorraine Rivera about some of the funding challenges districts currently face and solutions the legislature should consider.
This week Ducey also sent deployment of 338 National Guard members in Arizona to the border. Lorraine Rivera spoke to Ronald Colburn, former Border Patrol Deputy Chief, about the effectiveness of previous Guard deployments under the Bush and Obama administrations.
“It had such a deterrence that by 2008 we had reduced cross-border crime by 90 percent,” said Colburn when asked about how the 2006 deployment ordered by President Bush impacted the Yuma Sector.
Colburn also explained how this latest deployment addresses a staffing issue within the Border Patrol.
President Trump’s decision to send the National Guard the border came days after a series of tweets reacting to news of a caravan of migrants from Central America traveling north through Mexico.
Elizabeth Oglesby, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Arizona Center for Latin American Studies and researches human rights issues in Central America. She discussed the history of the caravan, its purpose and what events led to its portrayal in the media this month.
Oglesby said the caravan began seven years ago and generally happens around the week of Easter because in Latin America public processions traditionally take place around the holiday.
“It is not directly to bring migrants to the United States,” said Oglesby. “Mostly, it's a way to help provide safe passage for the migrants through Mexico as well as draw attention to their plight, the reasons they are fleeing their home countries, and the conditions that many migrants face as they transit through Mexico.”
Leaders at Pima Community College are devising ways to restructure and cut $15 million from the budget, because of expenditure limits triggered by decreased enrollment. Chancellor Lee Lambert appeared on Arizona 360 to explain the options being considered, which include staff reductions.
The restructure comes after a successful year for the college's men’s basketball team, which played in the NJCAA Division 2 championship game. Lambert said the team's success raised awareness about funding for the college's other athletic programs.
“We are underinvesting in athletics,” said Lambert. "If we want to maintain 16 programs that can compete at the level of our men's basketball program, we're going to need to make some additional investments."
Lambert said those investments can't come from the general fund at a time when the college is being forced to make budget cuts.
For Your Vote 2018, candidates are busy fundraising for their campaigns. Usually the candidate with the most money wins. However, research from University of Arizona School of Information indicates the emergence of a new type of campaign currency generated on social media.
Yotam Shmargad, Ph.D., explained how retweets from certain social media influencers could help candidates overcome fundraising shortfalls. His team explored how this may have helped sway votes in some federal races.
“If you are at a financial disadvantage and on average the people who share your message are popular… then you can do better at the polls,” said Shmargad.
To see how money is shaping this year's elections, Arizona Public Media looked into campaign finance reports in Arizona's gubernatorial race for a five-part series on money and politics, which you can see here.