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Teachers And Students Rally At State Capitol

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Teachers from across the state gathered at the state Capitol Monday to show their support for the Step Up Oklahoma plan.

The plan would raise taxes on things like cigarettes, fuel and gross production in order to fund a pay raise for Oklahoma teachers.

The buses loaded just after daylight Monday morning as 100 people from Tulsa Public Schools - teachers and students - made it a day of lobbying lawmakers.

2/12/2018 Related Story: Teachers, Health Care Advocates Rally In Favor Of 'Step Up Oklahoma' Plan

The group included at least four teachers from Edison Middle and High School. They carried signs and took along a few students to make their point.

Schools districts from all over the state sent delegations, filling the Capitol rotunda for a rally that included Barry Switzer giving teachers a pep talk.

Former Tulsa representative Jeannie McDaniel said the legislature for more than a decade has gutted education funding.

"Every day we have to send our kids to school to get educated by people who are in there by the grace of their heart but who have to go get alternatively certified. We need professional put back into the profession of teaching in the State of Oklahoma," said McDaniel.

Teachers from northeast Oklahoma went door to door to meet lawmakers.

Shawna Mott-Wright, from Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, said several lawmakers told her they couldn't support the tax increase.

Tristy Fryer, part of a group of teachers and supporters from Bixby, said, "There's a lot of legislators who are supporting this movement for teachers. They're doing a great job and working together. There's a few who are holding us back and it's a sad message to teachers."

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