OEA Says Teacher Walkout Still On, Despite Passage Of House Bill
OKLAHOMA CITY - Lawmakers are one step closer to giving teachers and state employees a pay raise and avoiding a school shutdown next week. The House passed a plan Monday night that would generate $447 million to fund a pay raise and additional education funding.
The Oklahoma Education Association, however, says the deal though still won’t stop a teacher walkout. But president Alicia Priest says she’s pleased with Monday night's vote and it’s a step in the right direction.
One day after the historic vote, educators were back at the Capitol.
“We came here today to thank them,” said Shelly Lloyd a speech pathologist.
All teachers News 9 spoke with were pleased.
“There may be a day of celebration, but I’m hoping they don’t have a walkout,” said Joan Chambers also a speech pathologist.
Some though, argue it's not enough.
“For me it’s not about pay, it’s about funding for the schools. I have 38 children in one class and I don’t have enough chairs for all of them,” said Sahona Alvin a Lawton teacher.
That's the stance of the OEA as well.
“It’s movement and there needs to be more,” said Priest.
Priest said the plan doesn't include a large enough raise for support staff and not enough funding for operational costs. It also doesn't address the additional raises the group has asked for in the future.
“We have to have a path forward for our students, we can’t get in this mess again. We have to continue to make sure that we’re doing right by our kids and making sure there’s a path forward in years two and three,” said Priest.
In the meantime, Priest said their experts have been running the revenue numbers and she has been meeting with leadership at the Capitol.
“April 2nd is still on. We’ve asked for what we’ve asked for. I think everybody is clear on that. Right now, that has not gone through all the steps, it hasn’t included everything it needs to include.”
Ed Allen, the head of the union for Oklahoma City teachers sent out a statement Tuesday, saying they will survey their members to see where they go from here.