While the outcome fell short of the teachers' original demands-which included salary structures and halting tax cuts until lawmakers raised per-pupil school funding to the national average-Arizona Education Association president Joe Thomas and National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García said in a joint statement that educators would return to school knowing they "achieved something truly historic".
Ducey's plan has support from a litany of education groups including the Arizona School Administrators Association, the Arizona School Boards Association, and the Arizona Charter Schools Association, as well as other business and education groups.
In the end, funding for raises was increased to $273 million.
"I am excited to see my students again soon, but I am heartbroken that we had to fight this hard for such a small amount of funding", Wisser said. "And I resent all the accusations and, frankly, bullying that I've had to deal with over this last week", Townsend said, moments before her third amendment was rejected in a voice vote. Those raises will cost about $300 million this year alone.
Most school districts had cited uncertainty about when the week-old teacher walkout over pay and education funding would end when they announced Wednesday that their schools would remain closed Thursday.
"Now we've got to sustain it and bring answers", Karvelis said.
Meanwhile, some teachers returned to the Capitol on Thursday as the statewide walkout entered a sixth day.
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Diane Douglas, the superintendent of the state Department of Education, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that she was very pleased that teachers were returning to class, but expressed concern with the questions they would have to face.
In a Facebook video on the Arizona Educators United page, which belongs to organizers of the walkout, kindergarten teacher Kelley Fisher assured teachers they were voting to support teachers.
On the revenue side of the equation, Republicans spurned several proposals to raise more money to ensure that there will not only be the dollars for future promised teacher pay raises but to finance some of the other priorities and restore per-student funding back to at least 2008 levels. The governor's office boasts that the budget still leaves Arizona in a healthy financial state, as budget analysts estimate a $150 million structural balance even after all the spending.
Rep. Mitzi Epstein, a Democrat, tried and failed to win support for an amendment that would mandate a 250:1 ratio for students to school counselors.
Kingman Academy of Learning reopened its schools Monday, and Kingman Unified School District had all of its school open Thursday. And she lashed out at teachers who were in the gallery - teachers presumably on strike - who were watching the debate.
Sen. Steve Farley voted for the bill. Teachers say $1.1 billion has been cut from their budgets since the recession.
Republicans like Representative T.J. Shope, however, said that the proposal is solid.