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Arizona teachers end strike after governor signs funding bill

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Arizona public school teachers are ending their walkout Thursday after days of striking for higher pay and education funding.

Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an education funding bill Thursday morning. The state House and Senate reportedly pulled an all-nighter to get the legislation to his desk.

Certified teachers will earn a 20 percent raise by 2020. Schools were also promised $100 million for support staff, including classroom aides and janitors.

Though teachers did not see all their goals met in the bill, they decided to end the walkout. The strike had closed more than 1,000 schools, keeping more than 800,000 students out of classrooms statewide.

“One month ago, the governor said he would only provide $65.4 million for a 2 percent raise … His first offer was going to sweep funding from universities and public services that would impact our students, and now we’ve forced the Governor to create more sustainable revenue sources without cutting funding from those services,” Arizona Educators United organizer and Littleton music teacher Noah Karvelis told Buzzfeed News

In the end, funding for teacher pay raises will be $273 million.{mosads}

“When we started this movement, Arizona educators pledged to keep fighting for the schools their students deserve until the end, and we were true to our word,” Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García said in a joint statement.

“We will return to our schools, classrooms, and students knowing that we have achieved something truly historic. We should take pride in what we have accomplished, and in the movement that we have created together.”

Ducey called the measure, known as the “20 x 2020” plan, a “real win” for students and teachers. He said that teachers had earned the raise.

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