PHOENIX (AP) - Thousands of parents and teachers converged at the State Capitol Saturday morning-- just two days away from the governor making his State of the State Address. Their message was loud and clear- they want our legislators to "Save Our Schools" in 2018.
Teachers and parents are putting up a united front, and they're after three big things: an end to vouchers, a boost in teacher salary and more money into the classroom.
"If you look at our schools, they're falling apart. Our teachers are leaving in droves. Good teachers," Catherine Hurla said.
"It's a rally cry to our state leaders. Were asking to make real actual, sustainable investments in our school. No more bandaids," Teacher Beth Lewis said.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said the attendees "showed up for teachers" and he said the state can't be successful in economic development while there's an underfunded education system.
In 2017, Governor Ducey's office put $223 million into K-12 schools' budget. However, Lewis teaches fifth grade and says that's not enough.
"You can move money around and into different pockets and call it a victory, but when I am in a class with 33 fitth graders and none of them are getting everything they need because we're overcrowded," Lewis said.
According to ASU's Morison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona ranked dead last in teacher pay for elementary school, and 49th for high school teachers.
But for Josh Meibos, Arizona's 2018 teacher of the year, it's about what the students aren't getting.
"There are certain opportunities, I think for education, not only your standard math and reading, but I think (physical education), music and art and all these programs that have been cut that really bring the whole child learning experience," Meibos said.
Governor Ducey is set to make his state of the state address Monday, and Lewis knows what she wants to hear.
"I would love to hear the word billions with a capital B, she said. "That we're going to infuse our school system with billions of dollars this year. Not next or year after that."
At a legislative luncheon Friday, the governor would only hint at what the 2018 budget for education will look like.
"But we are going to be increasing K-12 education, and for that I'd say tune in to the State of the State on Monday and take a look at the budget release," Ducey said.
The governor will be making the state of the address on Monday. He has said education is one of his top priorities for 2018. The budget proposal will follow later in the week.
Associated Press contributed to this report.