/ Modified apr 20, 2018 4:22 p.m.

Walkout Vote; Paying for Raises; Willcox Water Concerns

Also, former UA Football Coach Dick Tomey reflects on the program's future.

Late this week educators across the state voted in support of a walkout on Thursday if their demands for more funding aren't met by Governor Doug Ducey and the state Legislature. The grassroots group Arizona Educators United tallied the ballots and announced the results alongside with the Arizona Education Association.

Callista Radloff teaches kindergarten at Safford K-8 in Tucson and is also a member of Arizona Educators United. She shared more about the group's next steps and motivations.

"We have asked our Legislature and governor to please fund our schools," Radloff said. "Teachers are not staying. The kids need the stability."

In response to Gov. Ducey's proposal to raise teacher pay 19 percent by 2020, Radloff questioned whether the funding sources for the plan are sustainable.

When discussing the impact on families and students, Radloff said parents she has spoken to support their protests. "This is a fight because we love our students."

At a news conference earlier this week, Tucson Unified School District Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo told reporters that in the event of a strike the district could help students with basic services like meals and transportation. The district doesn't have enough substitutes available to keep classrooms running.

"We're very supportive of our teachers," Trujillo said. "And certainly, we don't view any of their actions as anti-Tucson Unified School District."

Ducey's plan to give teachers a 19 percent raise by 2020 would cost more than $580 million over three fiscal years. Arizona 360 learned more about how the governor would fund that plan through Gretchen Conger, deputy chief of staff for budget and policy.

Conger explained that the governor's office projects increased revenue over the next few years, which will fund most of the raises. She also explained how some money became available because fewer people are utilizing state services. Ducey also put some of his legislative priorities on hold to free up other funds, according to Conger.

Women who choose to have an abortion spend time with their doctor answering questions and hearing about alternatives and risks. Ducey recently signed a bill adding more questions to the list doctors must ask. Christopher Conover looked into the new law and learned more about what public data reveal about who gets abortions in Arizona.

Agriculture has long been the main economic driver in and around Willcox. As that industry grows, some are asking how it could affect the region's water supply. Vanessa Barchfield visited one of the newer farming operations and learned what brought the company to Southern Arizona.

Featured in this story: Moiria White, Community Relations, Riverview Laurel Lacher, Ph.D., Lacher Hydrological Consulting Peggy Judd, District 3 Supervisor, Cochise County Board of Supervisors Rod Keeling, Owner, Keeling Schaefer Vineyards Alan Robbs, Owner, Robbs Family Farm

University of Arizona Football kicked off the upcoming season with its annual spring game last weekend under new head coach Kevin Sumlin. Dick Tomey remains the program's winningest coach and led the team from 1987 to 2000. Prior to that, Tomey coached at the University of Hawaii and recently authored a book about his success there titled "Rise of the Rainbow Warriors". Tomey joined Arizona 360 to reflect on Arizona football's legacy and future.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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