Oklahoma Teachers Walk Out To Protest Low Pay And Inadequate Funding
Apr 04 2018 by Lorena Waters
Some people have not recognized what has been done, Stivers said, pointing to increased funding in the budget for education. Many districts never rehired staff after they cut positions in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, leading to the current crunch, said Partelow. While the governor signed the bill, teachers remained unsatisfied with overall education funding.
Oklahoma teachers say they have been forced to work second jobs to pay their bills, and school districts have cut classes to four days a week to save money.
Others said the state must do more to fund rural schools that serve low-income students.
You do realize that the "raise" makes teacher salaries equivalent to what they were 10 years ago?
Denver teachers can't afford "basic essentials, like health insurance, child care and a mortgage", according to its union, which said its members are prepared to strike. The regional average was $48,450.
Oklahoma teachers are demanding about $150 million to fix classrooms and but new supplies. "The Legislature sees it on paper, but when you actually see it, one teacher to 40 students, it's not enough".
In 2014, as petroleum prices were plummeting, Oklahoma passed a law that lowered "gross production tax" for oil and gas from 7% to 2% for new oil wells for 36 months. Consumers will pay $1 more per pack of cigarettes.
"Oklahoma kids for a decade are so used to not having enough or having to make do that they don't know what "enough" looks like", Kelly said.
"You've worked 20 years".
Lawmakers praised the moves as positive steps forward for Oklahoma's education system. A study of California public school teachers by the left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute found that the majority "earn a healthy return on contributions and a level of retirement security few participants in account-style plans can count on".
"I've been teaching 19 years and class sizes have gotten bigger over the years". Oklahoma Teachers United has nearly 14,000 followers on its Facebook page, allowing for fast communication to quickly organize rallies and walkouts.
She said that applies as well to how Republicans waited until Monday morning to roll out a budget and a revenue bill which significantly alters the state's tax code and then scheduled votes on the bills for the same day. "He usually can use salvageable parts from discarded desks to keep me going", she told CNN.
Elisabeth Milich said she earns about $35,621.
"We can't do a certain lab because someone had broken equipment and we can't afford to buy another one", said Edmond Memorial student Kiley Stoy. "We're hopeful. We're very hopeful".
There will be shuttles from these sites to the Capitol.
Teachers could barely put into words what it was like to step off of the bus and join thousands of other educators at the state capitol.
Time reports that the Oklahoma Education Association is calling for a $10,000 pay increase for teachers over the next three years.
CeCelia Garringer, of Enid, said she took the day off from her job as a surgical technologist to rally for her district's teachers. Some held signs reading, "Straight Outta Funding". "We know we can't trust them due to their lack of transparency". "They're broken, and they literally hurt the kids to sit down. They're here for our future". "It was always funding for our schools", she said.
Priest, the Oklahoma Education Assn. president, called it a "down payment" and accused legislators of undermining the raises by failing to secure the necessary funding to back up the bill. Additionally, they want the local government to undo several cuts to the education budget they've made in recent years.
They didn't have to go far to gauge teacher reaction.
"We're madder than hornets, and the hornets are swarming today", said Claudette Green, a retired teacher and principal. "Oklahoma is better than this, and educators will continue to walk out until we get a deal that our students deserve".