Green Country Teachers Prepare For Walkout Week Two
TULSA, Oklahoma - Oklahoma teachers are getting ready to converge on the Capitol once again as they walk out over education funding.
Many schools in northeast Oklahoma are closed again Monday, and by the busload, teachers from Green Country will go to Oklahoma City to fight for more funding.
Teachers and their supporters met in Broken Arrow's Rose District for one of the dozens of rallies held across Oklahoma Sunday afternoon.
Students who have already missed a week of class are helping make signs for the next week of protests.
Kenzie Egger, Broken Arrow senior, wants to be a teacher, and hopes by then, there's money for books.
“A lot of our textbooks are falling apart and in my first-period class, there's not enough to go around, so we have to get there fast so we can get a textbook and share,” said Egger.
A former teacher was there supporting an even larger increase in teacher pay than what's been approved already.
“I moved here to Oklahoma from Tennessee just a few years ago and to remain a teacher, I would have taken a $15,000 pay cut. So, I am no longer teaching,” said Julie Hasfjord.
The teachers who have been to the Capitol this past week say they're optimistic.
“We want to accomplish getting funding back into our schools and our classrooms. There [has] just been way too many cuts,” said Broken Arrow Middle School Teacher Gayle Hahn.
They're also firm in their resolve the walkout won't end until they get the results they want.
“The down payments have been great, but we gotta finish this, so we have to go and finish strong,” said 8th Grade Teacher Beckee Hacker.
The only lawmaker at the rally, who earlier in the week said he would not vote for new funding, said he now plans to vote for new taxes for education.
“I promise you guys, we're still working hard, Monday I'm hoping we'll hear a wind tax,” said Representative Kevin McDugle.
McDugle said he thinks there is no chance the capital gains tax exemption will change. That is one of the demands from the teachers union to end the walkout.