The Oklahoma Education Association leveled a threat to the Oklahoma Legislature in a news conference on Thursday: fund a pay raise for the teachers, support personnel and state employees by April 1, 2018, when they are required by law to have a budget, or they’re walking out on Monday, April 2.
The teachers want a $6,000 pay raise to begin with, up to $10,000 over the next three years.
OEA President and Yukon teacher Alisha Priest laid out the conditions during the event today that brought together fellow teachers, ministers and others who say they are fed up with broken promises and legislative inaction that has dragged Oklahoma to the bottom of the teacher salary range in all of the nation.
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We are updating the story with reaction from Luther administrators and teachers.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Barry Gunn said he is information gathering on the issue and walkout.
“We are hemorrhaging qualified teachers out of our state. We’ve got to do something to value our educators,” said Mr. Gunn. “I hope teachers understand we value them.”
Mr. Geoffrey Agan was among the teachers at the meeting. “There is a lot of frustration about what is going on or what is not going on at the legislature,” regarding teachers’ compensation packages. “I’m not saying the whole state of Oklahoma will walk out, but it’s inching in that direction,” said Agan.
On Thursday afternoon, OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime issued a statement regarding education funding and teacher pay:
“Our hope is legislators will unite and act swiftly on a plan that will encourage Oklahoma’s hard-working teachers and keep them in the classroom. Every day that passes without a solution for long-term education funding and competitive teacher pay exacerbates an already devastating teacher shortage.
We are committed to working with legislators to find solutions and urge all Oklahomans to contact their legislators in support of increased education funding and teacher pay.”