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Legislators "Still Not Taking It Seriously," Say Tulsa Teachers

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Educators in Tulsa are preparing to return to the capitol.

After coming home Monday, many teachers say they are still frustrated that some lawmakers are still not getting the message.

Teachers and support staff both say that they want lawmakers to understand they will continue to fight for their students and this is just the beginning.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimated around 20,000 people attended the rally at the capitol on Monday.

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Barbara Crisp, from Owen Elementary, says, “when I first went to the capitol, I was feeling really hopeful.”

Educators and support staff say they felt overwhelming support from one another, but when some of them returned to Tulsa this afternoon, it was a different feeling.

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“I’m a little disappointed,” said Trish Jones, a teacher at East Central High School.  “I feel like they’re still not taking it seriously that our students really, really need this funding.”

That funding, teachers say, includes making sure students have what they need to succeed – from smaller class sizes, to less teacher turnover, to having proper supplies in the classroom.

“It’s our job as educators to make sure that they’re college ready and community ready,” said Crisp.  “That’s what we’re trying to do, but we don’t have the supplies to do that.”

Custodian Michael Elam says he’s seen the effects first hand both as a staff member and as a parent.

“They’re precious to me.  I’d give anything for them,” said Elam.  “We just gotta keep pressing on and keep fighting.  We just can’t give up.”

As educators continue to fight for more funding, there’s something they want lawmakers to understand.

“It’s not about teacher funding.  It’s about full educational funding to benefit our students and benefit our classrooms,” stated Jones.

Crisp says, “we care about what we do and we don’t do it for the money, but what we do, we want to do it the right way.”

As the walkout continues tomorrow, many schools will again be closed for a second day.

The rally tomorrow at the capitol begins at 9:00 a.m.

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