Camp Verde schools to walk out Thursday, return to class on Monday

Camp Verde High School science teacher Katy Potter leads a group of the district’s educators in a walk-in at the high school. On Tuesday, Potter said that though the district’s teachers will participate in Thursday’s walkout, they will be back to work on Monday, April 30. VVN/Bill Helm

Camp Verde High School science teacher Katy Potter leads a group of the district’s educators in a walk-in at the high school. On Tuesday, Potter said that though the district’s teachers will participate in Thursday’s walkout, they will be back to work on Monday, April 30. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – Much like the state’s other teachers, Camp Verde Unified’s educators will not be in class on Thursday.

Although some will be in Phoenix lamenting the way legislature has supported the state’s education system, others will stay local – and do what they were called to do.

Following a show of support outside of Town Hall from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m., some of Camp Verde Unified’s teachers will go to the Camp Verde Community Library to provide tutoring services,” said Katy Potter, a Spanish teacher at Camp Verde High School and the district teachers’ go-to person for the #Red4Ed movement and the Arizona Educators United group.

“For us, Thursday will be a day of getting the word out,” Potter said. “We want to spread the word to the community, why the educators are not pleased with the governor’s plan.”

Gov. Doug Ducey’s plan to provide increased pay for teachers statewide doesn’t “maintain updated facilities or materials,” Potter said.

“Students and support staff need more funding,” Potter said.

Not only are teachers asking for a 20 percent raise, but for the state legislature to restore education to 2008 levels, as well as “competitive pay for all support staff, permanent salary including annual pay raises, and no new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average,” Potter said.

Though educators in other parts of the state have not stated an end date to their walkout, Camp Verde Unified teachers said they will return to the classroom on Monday, Potter said.

Which suits Danny Howe just fine, as the district’s administrator in charge said Tuesday that Camp Verde Unified schools will be closed on Thursday but be back in session on Monday.

Although Potter said Tuesday that some of the district’s teachers were willing to be out of the class beyond Thursday, Monday’s vote by the teachers supported a one-day exit from classes.

“We got together as a group. We decided as a group. Some people were for going for the long haul,” Potter said. “But we don’t want to put a lot of hardship on our rural communities. We decided we still want to make a statement. So the majority decided we would be out only one day.”

Tuesday, Howe wrote a letter to update teachers and parents of the district’s decision to close on Thursday.

“The feeling I got from my staff, I didn’t want to give false hope,” Howe said. “But I’ve got to trust the folks who say they don’t want a long walkout.”

Howe said that the district’s governing board will decide how the district will handle the loss of student in-class hours.

“We’ll see if they want to modify the calendar,” Howe said.

Other than fourth- and fifth grade students, the remainder of the district’s K-12 grades are “okay on seat time,” Howe said.

For Howe, Thursday’s walkout is just another workday.

“I want to make sure any kids who show up, that we have be able to call their parents,” Howe said. “Our administrators aren’t going to abandon the buildings.”

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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