April 19, 2018
Dear Litchfield Elementary School District Parents and Guardians,
There has been a great deal of media coverage and social media activity about the Arizona Educators United #RedforEd initiative involving teachers and others engaged in activities to bring attention to the issue of low public education funding in Arizona.
Many Litchfield Elementary School District teachers and community members have joined their voices to this cause. You may have seen groups of staff assembling on public sidewalks during non-work hours. The walk-ins have not had any impact on the regular school day. We anticipate these walk-ins may continue. We commend our Litchfield teachers for the professional way they have handled themselves and for the respect they have shown our students and families. The demonstrations have provided our teachers and staff an avenue to express themselves about the impact of the school funding issues in Arizona.
Governor Doug Ducey has proposed a plan that would provide teacher pay increases and help provide funding for District Additional Assistance (DAA). DAA provides monies for capital items such as buses, buildings, building maintenance, and classroom materials. The Arizona State Legislature will need to vote on the Governor’s proposed budget before the funding is assured.
Per media reports and social media posts, the Arizona Educators United #RedforEd organizers have suggested a potential school walkout, also being referred to as a sick-out or strike. No date has been announced. We hope to find alternatives that will support our teachers, but avoid disrupting the school day for students and families.
Our District administrators are working closely with the #RedforEd’s representatives and have been assured that if any walk-outs were to be scheduled, the District would be notified in advance. If a walk-out were to occur, we do not anticipate any staff to unexpectedly leave campus during the school day.
Litchfield Elementary School District does have fluid plans in place. District administration has been preparing for the resounding “what if” of having to close schools due to low staffing levels. Should a teacher walkout occur, Litchfield Elementary School District will make every effort to avoid closing district schools. However, if we have too few staff members to ensure the safety on our campuses, we may be forced to close schools. We ask that you consider an alternative plan for your student(s) in the event that our schools are forced to close.
Please take this opportunity to update your emergency contact information with the front office at your child’s school to be sure you receive updates from us. In the event that we are unable to hold school, we will use all modes of communication to alert families to the closures, including our emergency notification system (automated phone message), district and school websites at www.lesd.k12.az.us, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/Litchfield-Elementary-School-District.
Your partner in education,
Jodi Gunning, M.Ed.