Oklahoma approves tax hike to avert teachers' strike

OK Senate passes education funding bill

On March 26, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a group of bills that would raise taxes on certain items to fund wage increases for teachers.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere. "Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students", she wrote. It faces a teacher exodus, with many heading to neighboring states like Texas and Arkansas, or even further, for pay that is thousands of dollars higher.

Oklahoma City Public Schools graduation ceremonies and proms will take place as scheduled regardless of a teacher walkout.

Tulsa Public Schools and Owasso Public Schools made it official Thursday afternoon that its schools will be shut down Monday because teachers are going to the Capitol. We have an extraordinary amount of work ahead of us to continue to undo a historical under-investment in education, which preceded a decade of funding cuts to education and other social services.

An Oklahoma walkout would be the second major teachers' strike this year after West Virginia educators walked out of classrooms last month and won modest pay increases.

President of the Oklahoma Education Association Alicia Priest released the following statement on Facebook Wednesday evening saying "The passage of HB1010xx is a truly historic moment in Oklahoma. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their dedication to finding a solution and seeing a teacher pay raise come to fruition", said Senate Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus.

"This package doesn't overcome shortfall caused by four-day weeks, overcrowded classrooms that deprive kids of the one-on-one attention they need".

Priest called the package a good "first step", but wouldn't say if it was enough to avert a prolonged walkout.

"We asked for $10,000 over three years". Certainly the teachers had reached the end of their patience, and I can understand and sympathize with that. This movement, fueled by the courageous acts of teachers, parents, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, custodians, and community members has forced this legislature to finally act.

Arizona Educators United, a coalition of educators, demands a 20% salary increase for teachers, competitive pay for all education support professionals, as well as education funding restored to 2008 levels. "We have among the highest class sizes and school counselor loads in the nation, making it hard to meet the individual needs of our students", the group stated. Oklahoma was also ranked 47th in expenditures for public K-12 students per student in 2016, according to the National Education Association.

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