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School's out: Stillwater taking day-to-day approach on walkout
31 March 2018, 07:32 | Bernice Figueroa
Oklahoma students walkout in support of teachers
Teachers and parents were so upset with the state of education in Oklahoma that Alberto Morejon, who teaches eighth grade social studies at Stillwater Junior High School, set up a Facebook page for teachers and parents to discuss their concerns. Republicans control the statehouse and governor's office in all three states.
If school closures will be necessary the following day, leaders say they will announce the closure to the public no later than 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, in much the same way they do on snow days.
In February, teachers in the West Virginia coalfields launched wildcat strikes, forcing the state affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to call a statewide strike and then extend it.
Other districts, however, are backing off of the walkout idea.
"I think the teachers unions are in a tight spot trying to reconcile the demands from some of their more hardcore members compared to what is attainable from the Legislature", said David Blatt, executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a Tulsa think tank.
"And with this bill not meeting the demands of educators, the lights turning out at the end of this school day, may not turn on again Monday. This isn't where we need to be'". So it was an overwhelming amount of people who still want to participate in this walkout. If schools are open and teachers refuse to return to work, the state could consider it an illegal strike.
"I've been told "Trust us" too many times in this building as have teachers for about the last decade".
Priest said lawmakers have not provided enough funding in the bills to pay for needed textbooks, programs and support staff.
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Some KXII viewers wrote on Facebook that the raise should be enough, but teachers like high school teacher Chuck Pack said they're not done yet.
"The school funding in the bill is laughably small", Wallis said.
Like most states, Oklahoma cut school funding in the wake of the Great Recession. It also includes a tax on hotel and motel lodging, however that will likely be repealed.
At least 172 Oklahoma school districts have prepared to close for at least one day next week, according to a recent survey of 264 school districts.
"Mid-Del stands by our teachers, administrators and support staff", he said. Such teachers don't meet the state's normal minimum requirements to teach in public school.
One reason it's taken this long is that anti-tax sentiment runs deep in Oklahoma, and education funding and tax policy have long intertwined. But John D. Montgomery, publisher of the Purcell Register, says state legislators could pay a political price for not backing tax increases to improve the state's budget. There was a lot of in-fighting over the past 24 hours leading up to the signing of the bill.
And, lawmakers said they plan later this week to repeal a key part of their funding measure - a $5 hotel and motel tax that was supposed to generate almost $44 million in revenue.
"The more the bill has gotten to sit", Wallis said, "the more people have gotten to read it and find problems with it".
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