After nine days the statewide teacher walkout has come to a close.
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest announced the decision Thursday afternoon during a press conference. She said while the walkout helped the group achieve their goals, it was no longer an effective way of advocating for education funding.  
“This fight is not over because the school bell will ring tomorrow,” Priest said. “We have created a movement and there is no stopping us.”
Priest said OEA’s overall goal is to restore funding cuts made to public education during the past decade. She called on school districts to keep sending teacher delegations to the state Capitol and urged communities to vote in politicians who prioritize education.
“While the walkout has helped us achieve almost all of our plans’ goals for the campaign’s first year, we are in this for the long haul and now it’s time to shift our focus.”
State Senator Frank Simpson said the Legislature is turning its attention to matters not related to education funding, likely for the remainder of the session.
“I don’t see any additional revenue bills being passed this session,” Simpson said. “I don’t see anything else on either side.”
He said the House and Senate will likely be working on a general appropriations bill for the next fiscal year for the remainder of the week.
“That’s going to take a lot of work and time,” Simpson said. “And it’s such a tremendous task getting things passed with 75 percent of the vote.”
Simpson said additional education funding measures could end up on a statewide ballot during the November election. He said the matter has a better chance of passing as a vote by the people than as followup legislation.
“That’s probably the only viable way right now,” Simpson said. “I’m not sure anyone has the stomach for another big long battle.”
Simpson said the walkout and everything leading up to it has been trying for lawmakers, with multiple revenue packages coming close to passing before falling short.
“I can’t tell you how stressful this was,” Simpson said. “This has taken a toll on a lot of people, and it’s been a challenging situation for a long time.”
The regular session ends May 25. He said if the Legislature hasn’t passed a state budget by that time, they will have to call another special session, but he doesn’t anticipate that happening.