Plans for Luther schools to close for only one day for the Teacher Walkout at the State Capitol changed when it was announced that LPS would again close on Tuesday.
The letter from Superintendent Barry Gunn posted Monday afternoon said “at this time, it has become apparent that Luther Public Schools will not have enough certified staff to safely operate school on Tuesday, April 3, therefore we will be closed.”
Some Luther teachers ventured to the State Capitol Monday in what is being called an historic showing of educators, teachers, parents and others demanding the Oklahoma legislature increase funding for education. Last week, a pay raise was approved and signed into law to give teachers a raise. But the continued protest is over general education funding that has been cut.
Governor Mary Fallin who did not show up at the State Capitol today released the following statement on Monday afternoon.
“I appreciate teachers coming to the Capitol today to talk with their elected officials. During the past three years, I have called for an increase in teacher salaries. I was very proud to join with leaders of both parties to sign the largest teacher pay increase in Oklahoma’s history. This legislation will provide an average teacher pay raise of $6,000 to our teachers. That is a 16 percent average pay increase for teachers. An additional $50 million was allocated for the state aid funding formula and textbooks. In total, this represents a 19.74 percent increase in the appropriations for public schools.
“Just like Oklahoma families, we are only able to do what our budget allows. Significant revenue-raising measures were approved to make this pay raise and additional school funding possible. We must be responsible not to neglect other areas of need in the state such as corrections and health and human services as we continue to consider additional education funding measures. I look forward to continuing to talk with legislative leaders and teachers as we forge a positive pathway forward for education,” said Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Speaking of the budget, here are a couple of graphs on the finances at Luther Public Schools from the March School Board Meeting Agenda. The first picture shows all of the ways that LPS receives revenue, and the second picture shows the current budget and amount that has been spent with more than half of the year over. Of note, groups like 4 Our Community, several other groups, individuals and of course teachers themselves who donate everything from paper to tissue to equipment throughout the year.
Some Luther teachers plan to return to the State Capitol again on Tuesday. Others say they will return to their classroom. Lunch will be offered to students from 11 am – Noon at the elementary cafeteria.
Mr. Gunn said the closure of school will be a day to day decision.