OKCPS Principals supporting teachers in possible walkout


Oklahoma teachers are getting a little more backing this morning after issuing an ultimatum to state lawmakers.

Oklahoma City Public School Principals say they're standing in solidarity with teachers, who have threatened to walk out of classrooms on April 1 if the state can't come up with a pay increase.

"In a survey of our building Principals, 76 percent of respondents supported a job action, in the form of cancelling classes if necessary, in order to elicit a change from our state legislature who, in the last decade, have been unable or unwilling to fully fund public education," wrote Greg Frederick, President of the Oklahoma City Building Administrators. "In doing so, legislators have not only created a teacher shortage crisis in the state of Oklahoma but have also devalued the education profession to the point where educators and their supporters across the state now see no recourse but to bring us to the brink of school closures statewide. This is an action of last resort."

The state teachers union announced Wednesday that Oklahoma lawmakers have until April 1 to pass a budget with meaningful pay raises for teachers and increased funding for education. If an agreement is not reached before then, teachers will go on strike and schools will begin to close.

Teachers are reportedly asking lawmakers for a $10,000 raise and support staff a $5,000 raise. They are also demanding for the legislature to fully staff state agencies and give state employees a $7,500 raise. Finally, they want new, recurring revenue to fund the services Oklahomans need, such as mental health, health care and public safety.

"Without adequate funding, we cannot recruit and retain the best teachers, our most valuable resource in education. This is not sustainable and deprives our students of the education they deserve," wrote Frederick.

The pay raises for teachers and support professionals would cost $740 million over three years. In all, the union's plan would cost nearly $1.5 billion.

The OEA has planned a 'teletown hall' for 7 p.m. Thursday for everyone to learn more about the list of demands. You can dial in at (877) 229-8493. The pin number you'll need is 115828.

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