Arizona schools reopen after teacher walk-out

Most Arizona schools closed during a six-day teacher walkout over pay raises and education funding have reopened.

LIST: #RedforEd: Arizona schools list FAQs on potential walkouts

Teachers back at work Friday at a high school in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, along with parents, lined up to greet students with cheers and handshakes. The principal of an elementary school on the other side of the Phoenix metro area greeted students with high-fives.

"These teachers have been out there everyday, fighting for our kids and we should really do something," said Bethany Taylor, a parent. "We thought they would be a little nervous coming back, not sure how parents felt about everything and we just wanted to let them know we really appreciated them."

"I really missed school and all my friends and I just wanted to get back to school," Elise Taylor said.


Teachers at an elementary school in the Chandler suburb hugged each other and wrapped their arms around each other's shoulders as they walked in from the staff parking lot.

"We've never done this before, so it was unchartered territory and the support we've gotten was nothing short of amazing," said Erin Johnson, a second-grade teacher. "We really, really appreciate it and our parents have been nothing short of amazing."

Strike organizers called for an end to the walkout Thursday after an all-night legislative session resulted in a 20 percent pay raise by 2020. Most districts planned to reopen Friday. But the largest Tucson district will resume classes next week.

The education funding plan approved Thursday by the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey awards teachers a 9 percent raise next fall and 5 percent in each of the next two years. That's in addition to a 1 percent raise granted last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.