Walkout Not Just About Pay Raise, Tulsa Teacher Says
SAPULPA, Oklahoma - We are less than two days away from a School Shutdown across Oklahoma.
One Tulsa teacher working two jobs in order to make ends meet said he's grateful for the recent pay raise but he doesn't think it's enough for education funding and will be joining hundreds of others at the capitol on Monday.
Even with the signing of the new bill to raise teacher pay, Rick Meacham, a teacher who also works at Kens Pizza, said the fight for education funding is far from over.
Meacham sees several customers a day, as a server at Ken's Pizza but he isn't a server by trade. He's a full-time elementary school Physical Education teacher who works two jobs to make ends meet.
"There's days you're just exhausted from your school day, and then you know you have to go change and put on your work face to go back to another job," Meacham said.
He said even with the new raise, he will continue his job as a server.
"It wasn't just about the raises it was about the whole package," he said.
Thursday, lawmakers agreed on an average teacher raise of at least 15 percent and a $50 million increase in education funding. Many teachers say that's not enough.
So, on Monday, Meacham and hundreds of other teachers will walk out, prompting some schools to shut down.
"You're starting to rob from the kids because you can't produce the product that you need with the money that you've taken away. So, I believe that's why the walkout is still planned," said Meacham
He said he's thankful for the raise he and other educators will get next year but he wants classrooms fully funded.
"We appreciate what you've done, but we need more," he said.
Meacham is still encouraging parents, teachers, and students to call their legislators, demanding more be done for education funding.