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OK Group Pressuring Legislature To 'Pass A Plan' To Improve Education Funding

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For months, education advocates pushed to get voters to approve State Question 779, but it failed. For months, education advocates pushed to get voters to approve State Question 779, but it failed.
Martin Ramirez with Stand For Students is continuing work to raise teacher pay and improve education for all children. Martin Ramirez with Stand For Students is continuing work to raise teacher pay and improve education for all children.
The goal is to get people to sign an open letter to state leaders. The goal is to get people to sign an open letter to state leaders.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Last week, voters turned down a proposed hike in the state sales tax that would have provided for teacher pay raises. Now the campaign again is shifting back to pressuring the state legislature.

"Pass a Plan" is the education advocacy group Stand For Children’s new campaign.

The public is asked to sign a digital open letter to government leaders demanding they pass a plan to get Oklahoma education funding back on track.

For months, education advocates pushed to get voters to approve State Question 779, but it failed.

11/8/2016 Related Story: Oklahomans Deny Sales Tax To Fund Education

Had it been approved, in part, the measure would have raised taxes to come up with the money to give teachers across Oklahoma raises.

"Despite the results from Election Night, our fight is far from over and there's still work to be done,” said Martin Ramirez with Stand For Students. “We are last in the nation in teacher pay - we're still number one in cuts to education funding."

Ramirez is continuing work to raise teacher pay and improve education for all children.

"We know teachers are leaving the classroom and going to other states, or, they are leaving the profession together," he said.

So, the momentum from State Question 779 is being used to highlight "Pass a Plan;” an online initiative meant to help pull Oklahoma out of last place in teacher pay and limit education funding cuts.

The goal is to get people to sign an open letter to state leaders.

Ramirez said, "When we cut funds to schools we are hurting families that understand that getting a great education is the only path out of poverty and into the middle class."

Part of the letter reads "Classrooms are overcrowded.”

Many schools can't even provide modern textbooks and have had to cut critical programs designed to help students read on grade level and graduate on time.

"Cutting funding to education, we are not preparing the next generation of Oklahomans," said Ramirez.

Governor Mary Fallin says she'll be meeting with the new legislative leaders to discuss a course of action on teacher pay raises.

In a statement, the governor said, “Last February in my State of the State speech, I asked legislators to consider some ideas that I put forward to give teachers a pay raise. They didn’t act upon that, but it was a tough year for the budget. This summer I asked them to consider coming into special session to look at teacher pay raises and they weren’t able to do that because of elections. Now I’ll be meeting with our new legislative leaders to discuss a course of action on the issue of teacher pay raises.”

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