The first-ever statewide teacher strike is dragging into another day today as many teachers have decided they're not quite ready to go back. "We have options, but it is time for us to get back to our students, and back into our classrooms", said Garelli.
Gabriel Trujillo, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District, the second-largest in the state, said he doesn't support the walkout because it takes teachers out of classrooms. "Arizona is delivering on its commitment to our students and teachers".
It was the largest teachers' strike in USA history and has kept most of state's 1.1 million public school students out of class.
The teacher raise is half a 20 percent bump that Ducey has promised by 2020 and restore payments to that fund to pre-recession levels in five years.
It gives educators a 10 percent raise next year and starts restoring some of the almost $400 million in cuts to a fund that pays for supplies, repairs and some support staff salaries.
"We here in Arizona have banded together as educators, we've set up a grassroots movement with 1,700 schools involved, 1,700 liaisons, and if we're ever called to come back we will come back together and we'll come back stronger", middle school teacher Scott Gebbie said.
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Townsend, a critic of the #RedForEd effort, later updated her post, saying she didn't mean to imply that lawmakers will be at the Capitol until Saturday.
Teachers say they'll continue their job action and rally at the state Capitol as the state Legislature moves to pass a budget bill that would give them big raises.
The House was still debating the budget package Thursday morning but passage was assured.
Teachers walked out last week hoping they could demand more funding from Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican lawmakers.
"I commend you for being here", Farnsworth said. "Our track record of delivering that promise has not always been flawless, so I don't think they wasted their time". The budget package also provides the state's schools will a partial restoration of almost $400 million in recession-era cuts.
Outside the Capitol on Wednesday, the statewide #RedForEd walkout's fifth day, protesters chanted, "No bill, no school". From its beginnings in West Virginia, it spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and most recently Colorado. Some smaller districts began to open their doors on Monday, while others announced they'd be closed for as long as the walkout continued.
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Teachers say they're not happy with what they've been offered, even though they realize this is what they will get this year.
"I'm glad it passed and we'll get something because I'm a single mom of three kids, but it's not enough", she told Phoenix-area radio station KTAR. In January, she said Ducey's plan for K-12 education was "good news for Arizona".
"We have so many people now that are paying attention to what's going on, they will never turn away from this fight now", he said.
"This budget supports Arizona's top priorities by improving the public education system and rewarding our teachers", Ducey tweeted out on Tuesday in support of his plan.
Educators had to change their tactics after budget approval appeared imminent, association president Joe Thomas said. School funding has not increased in the state since cuts were made during the Great Recession.
"The writing is on the wall, they're going to ignore the students and teachers and plight of the schools, and they're going to put through the budget they want", he said.
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