'Work To Contract' Protest At Tulsa Public Schools Starts Today
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa teachers launched their "Work the Contract" plan today to protest low teacher pay and the state's budget cuts to education.
TPS says those teachers will only work their contracted hours. And they will walk out Monday afternoon when the school day is over and won't do another thing school-related until they're back at work Tuesday.
By working to contract, Tulsa Public Schools says it will slow the prep work and grading time many teachers now do at home. It will also affect many before and after school activities.
TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist says they're doing this because teachers deserve a well-funded public education system where teachers can afford to stay long enough to see kids graduate.
Parents and even a few kids were up early Monday, holding signs and showing support for the teachers at Mayo Demonstration School.
"We support the teachers to do what's necessary to get paid what they should be," parent Heather Hoover said.
"They need to know that they're respected and that their voices are being heard," said parent Evan Taylor.
When teachers walked in at their required time they heard plenty of cheering from parents and kids.
Hoover, whose daughter graduated from Mayo in 2017, said she's seen the sacrifices teachers make.
"I know a teacher right now, who's also a parent at this school, who has her master's degree and has been teaching for that school district for five years and is only making $35,000 a year. How do you pay off school debt," Hoover said.
Principal Kenneth Joslin said he's thankful parents appreciate the hard work educators put in and he hopes legislators are listening.
"Last time I was a teacher was nine years ago and teachers have not had a raise since before then, so it's long past due," Joslin said.
With a possible school shutdown looming, parents said they're behind the teachers all the way.
"The majority of the people I've talked to, they're behind it, and I think that's Tulsa for you," Taylor said.
TPS said the teachers will continue the protest until the legislature meets their demands. If it's not done by April 1st, they're shutting down school.