Green Country Teachers Say Still More Is Needed For Classrooms
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - On Tuesday, teachers moved their rally inside, taking over the Capitol's rotunda.
The House ended Tuesday's session at 10:30 a.m., but the crowds of teachers didn't diminish for several hours.
Several green country teachers say that, while they are grateful for the pay raise, it's not enough. They want more funding for classrooms and operating budgets.
Matt Nance, a teacher from Drumright, says his school no longer has a counselor or home ec teacher because of funding cuts.
"They cut a little bit more each year and make due, but, because we make due, it hides how serious the problem is," said Nance. "We don't want to be here today. We want to be in our classrooms. We want to be working with our kids, with Oklahoma's kids, but it's getting to the point we cannot do that anymore."
The teachers say lawmakers are sadly mistaken if they believe teachers are just going to go away without additional measures being passed.
They say legislators have no idea how bad it really is - out-of-date textbooks, losing positions and not filling them, vehicles and buildings in disrepair.
Nance says the district couldn't afford to keep the high school open. They closed it and moved to the middle school building, but, he says, the middle school leaks.
"We've seen the money being spent to fix the Capitol. It's wonderful," stated Nance. "But when we have to put out trash cans and bowls during every rain storm, it kinda bites a little bit to see all the money being spent here while our kids languish in rooms that leak and flood."
Nance also says that his district's special ed teacher now teaches six grades, for a total of 70 kids.