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Oklahoma teachers walkout

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Teachers rally at the Capitol to try to get more funding for public education in Oklahoma.

Teachers rally at the Capitol to try to get more funding for public education in Oklahoma.

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Teachers rally at the Capitol to try to get more funding for public education in Oklahoma.

Lauren Minnix, North Staff Writer

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Oklahoma’s public school teachers plan to walkout in fight for better pay on April 2. This would cause most of the public schools in Oklahoma to close until the legislature comes up with a solution to give teachers and support staff a pay raise and provide school funding. According to CNBC, Oklahoma ranks the lowest in teacher wages, with high school teachers making around $42,460 a year. Over the years, classroom sizes have grown, teachers are having to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies and many have not seen a raise in years.

The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) is demanding a $10,000 pay raise for teachers over 3 years and a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals over 3 years. To achieve these pay raises, OEA proposes $158.7 million through a 5% Gross Production Tax, $222.9 million in tobacco taxes, $149.1 million in motor fuel taxes, $177 million in income tax reform, restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit and elimination of the Capital Gains Deduction. Some other revenue sources may include a tax on alcohol, car tags, ball and dice games at casinos, hotel/motel tax, sales tax reform and a tax on wind generation.

Many do not know how long the walkout will last. Edmond North can miss up to 6 days due to the built in snow days, and after those 6 days the school year will have to be extended to make up for missed days. Regardless of the length of the walkout, graduation for seniors will still be held on May 12 but they will not receive their diplomas until they complete the school year. On April 3, the day after the walkout starts, part of the junior class is scheduled to take the ACT. Debreon Davis, North’s principal, says she will be at the school during the walkout to still administer the scheduled test to the students. School extracurricular activities like sports, FCA, FCCLA, debate and many more will try to keep on schedule since they can’t be rescheduled like a missed school day, but it all depends on the coaches and sponsors.

Lynn Morrison is a member of Oklahoma Central Parent Legislative Action Committee (PLAC). Their goal is more funding, less testing and a long term plan to give teachers a raise and ending the teacher shortage in Oklahoma.

“If everyone is willing to sacrifice, we can fund education, teacher raises and core services,” Morrison said.

If you are wanting to get more involved in this ongoing debate, Meredith Exline, a member of the School Board, recommends hearing all sides of the problem to form an opinion and contact a state representative or senator to discuss these issues.

Everyday new information is forming about the potential walkout, so for questions regarding the Edmond Public School (EPS) system and the impact of the teacher walkout visit the EPS website where they have a FAQ set up.

 

For any questions or concerns please email [email protected]

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