TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Public Schools superintendent announced Sunday that the district will support an educator walk-out on April 1.

In a post on her Facebook page, Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said, “Beginning March 12, we will support our teachers in a ‘work the contract’ effort that will continue throughout the end of the month.”

“Work the contract” means teachers will work “only the seven hours and fifty minutes per day required by contract instead of working late into the evening and during the weekend.”

Gist said it will be hard for teachers because of their commitment to Oklahoma students but said they are taking this action “because your children matter, and they deserve a well-funded public education system where their teachers can afford to stay long enough to see the graduate.”

The superintendent continues to say if legislatures can’t pass a plan to increase teacher pay and education funding by April 1, the district will support the educator walk-out by shutting down the district.

“This means that effective Monday, April 2, every school in our district would be closed indefinitely until Oklahoma state leaders create a permanent sustainable plan to pay educators the professional salaries they deserve,” she wrote.

Gist said they will work with community advocates and partner agencies to determine how they can support families with childcare, meals, and any other services.

“Our students and families will feel the impact of any job action that out teachers might take. We believe, however, that our students and families already feel the immense impact of a chronically underfunded education system where their teachers have to routinely make extraordinarily difficult decisions like which bill to pay late, how many part-time jobs to take on, and whether they can afford to stay in Oklahoma for another year and keep their heads above water financially,” the post says.

“Enough is enough. We must be willing to do everything within our power to change conditions for our teachers, students, families, and schools. Living our core value of character means that we make decisions, take action, and approach our work based on what is best for our students and their success. We do the right thing even when it is hard. We face difficulty with courage and have the moral fortitude to act in accordance with our beliefs. This is a time to lead with character, and I am incredibly proud of our educators and humbled to stand beside them at this historic moment in time where I am confident that we can effect this long-overdue change.”

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