Bolstered by the support they received from parents and community members during the past two weeks, teachers say they have mixed emotions about seeing the walkout come to an end, and they're not done fighting for education funding in other ways.
Opinion surveys showed it had garnered wide support among Oklahoma voters, many of whom had seen firsthand how students at struggling schools had to share outdated and tattered textbooks and sometimes go to a four-day school week to help save districts money.
He says some teachers intend to stay off the job until the Legislature approves more funding. Lyscio said his proposal to the Audubon Center of the Northwoods for the program's first year is a class of 15 students with one teacher and a paraprofessional. "We are proud of what we have accomplished, but truthfully there's no one left to negotiate with in the statehouse", Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, said.
But many teachers said the pay raise package was just a small step after years of funding neglect and they wanted lawmakers to do more.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association also announced that state employees will no longer participate in the strikes. Though the school governing board and the public appear sympathetic to teacher pay concerns, neither would be tolerant of a long shutdown of the expensive public school system.
"It's just really hard to be gone and we are always conscientious of what our students are missing when we are not there and how that's going to impact them", Coil said.
Teachers had initially demanded the repeal of a capital-gains tax exemption, which applies to wealthy individuals. By passing that, lawmakers hoped to head off the pending teacher walkout.
The union says it chose to end the walkout after polling its members.
She said that although the walkout has been halted, the mission has not been finished.
Elaine Brown, a teacher at the Capitol, told Fox 25, "I feel like they kind of took the coward way out".
According to Carly Wright, director of public policy and advocacy for SHAPE America, and the Society of Health and Physical Educators nine states now require daily recess in elementary schools.
Efforts to obtain more funding will continue away from the Capitol, Priest said.
Oppel said some teachers were eager to remain at the Capitol, especially as there is talk the Legislature might consider taxes increase on wind energy production, potentially raising new revenue for schools. Additional grant dollars in the future could be used, Lyscio said, for not only the solarium but also outdoor gardening elements at the new school as well.