Arizona’s teachers will stage a state-wide walkout next week as they step up their demands for higher pay and increased school funding. The Arizona Education Association announced Thursday night that 78 percent of school employees in the state were in favor of the walkout, which won’t begin until April 26, to give parents time to prepare. The vote follows a month of mounting protests to demand increased funding for public schools and an offer by Gov. Doug Ducey to boost teacher pay by 20 percent. After the strike was announced, Ducey said: “No one wants to see teachers strike. If schools shut down, our kids are the ones who lose out. We have worked side by side with the education community to develop a sustainable plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020.” Noah Karvelis, an organizer for Arizona Educators United, said: “The worst possible thing we could do is not take action right now.” Arizona ranks 43rd in the U.S. in terms of how much it pays its teachers.