Greg Treat

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Updated 5:09 p.m.

The state's largest teachers union have announced the Oklahoma teacher walkout is over.

In a press conference this afternoon, Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest said some schools and teachers may continue to walk, but that is up to them and their school boards.

Priest declared the walkout a victory, saying teachers had secured an additional half a billion dollars for public education, but Senate leaders refused to do more this year, and that was the reason for calling things off.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kids are scattered around the preschool classroom at Zarrow International School in Tulsa. It’s loud and chaotic, but it’s organized. Some students paint pictures; others write out the letters of the alphabet. The small group sitting around teacher Irene Castell is learning to count and compare numbers.

Castell says many kids would not learn these skills if they stayed home, or went to daycare.

“We always hear back from teachers of kindergartners, ‘We can always tell who’s been to pre-K,’” she says.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Senate is trying to break a stalemate between House Republicans and Democrats. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, urging House leaders to include in their budget plans a tax increase on oil and gas production.

The Senate resolution called for a hike in the gross production tax from 2 to 4 percent during a well’s first 36 months of production.

Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is confident his chamber could reach the required three-fourths majority to pass the tax package.

All of the bills promising a teacher pay raise are dead for this legislative session. But, some lawmakers are still fighting for one.

The Senate’s deadline to vote on House Bill 1114 was Thursday, but they chose to not even discuss the measure.

The bill proposed a multi-year approach to increasing teacher pay, starting with a 1,000 raise next year, and a 6,000 dollar bump by year three.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority.