Conflicting Demands Lead To Teacher Walkout Frustration
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - Some Green Country teachers say that OEA's frequently changing demands are more frustrating than helpful.
Teachers are frustrated with the legislature and with anyone, including the union, who says educators have what they wanted.
The accidental leader of the walkout is a young teacher and he said teachers aren't even close to giving in.
If the 2018 Teacher Walkout has a rock star, it's Alberto Morejon. He's a junior high teacher in Stillwater who created the Facebook group that galvanized the movement.
Though unions are doing some of the talking about the walkout, when it comes to listening, many teachers say Morejon listens and now speaks for them.
“I'm doing what I think is something they would agree to. The OEA can do what they need to do and if people support that, that's great but I'm doing what I think the majority of the people in my group want and I think the majority of people here are in my group and read what I post,” Morejon said.
Morejon is now talking with lawmakers on behalf of a group almost 80,000 strong, led by frequent surveys of his followers.
He's convinced teachers want more action and that parents are willing to pay more taxes.
“We have 80% of parents supporting us, knowing they would pay more taxes and I think the majority of people would be okay with $15 more [a] year in taxes knowing their child's education would be fully funded,” said Morejon.
“He posted a plan last night and then we have the OEA who has changed their plans a couple of times and we're getting a little frustrated,” said Wagoner Teacher Sharon Mays.
Post from Alberto Morejon on the Facebook page "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout - The Time Is Now!"
The last 2 days have been nothing but frustrating and quite frankly, disappointing when it comes to meeting with a lot of our reps. A lot of representatives are starting to ignore the problem, while also ignoring the fact we are still there.
After meeting with lots of representatives today, I have an idea.
If you remember, the Step Up Plan called for a 6 cent gas tax and $1.50 cigarette tax. The Step Up plan barely failed, but showed that the votes were there!
(This is important to remember!)
The bill passed about 2 weeks ago was a 3 cent gas tax and $1.00 cigarette tax. This plan passed overwhelmingly!
At this point, we have some schools saying an additional 50M would end the walkout. This group said an additional 97M would end the walkout. However, I’m calling for an additional 75M in order to end this walkout! An additional 75M being added on to the 50M we already got would equal 125M!
How do we do it?
We need a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. This idea below would work... and has proven to have the votes!! I was told by many reps today that this is something they could support.
So here it is:
Add 1.5 cents to the gas tax. (Going from 3 cent to 4.5 cent)
Add 0.25 cents to the cigarette tax. (Going from $1 to $1.25)
Add 0.125% to the income tax bracket. (Use to be 7%... now it’s 5%... would be 5.125% if passed)
The income tax at 5.25% would cost a family that makes $44,600... $30 more a year! That’s it! 0.125% would cost $15 more a year!
A 3 cent gas tax would cost people $1 a month. If we bumped it to 4.5 cents, we are talking about $1.50 a month.
There are so many parents who support what we are doing!! With that being said... they would also support having to pay a little bit more in taxes knowing our kids will finally be have what they deserve!!
I’m being told that this is a compromise that both sides could agree too! BUT we need Republicans voters to call their Republicans Reps and tell them they would be okay with this 0.125% increase!! I’m being told that if this happens, there’s a good possibility it would be passed. We also need to spend a lot of time in the Senate tomorrow telling them we want this!! THEY CAN’T argue against it, considering most voted for 2/3 of this in the past. (Gas and Cigarette) don’t take no for an answer!
If Abraham Lincoln could convince Democrats to vote for the 13th Amendment (which ended slavery, and quite frankly their total economy), we can convince our reps to vote for this!! It would be a win for both sides!!
Remember, I made this group so you guys could have a voice, so we can discuss... I will do whatever you guys want to do! However, I would hate to look back 2-3 years from now, knowing we could have done this if we would have continued to sacrifice... We have so much momentum and support! Don’t forget, WE CONTROL THIS! If schools try to open, WE DETERMINE if they actually do!
We need a huge crowd tomorrow! We need the Capitol at Max Capacity! We need parents calling to support this! The reps hear every single phone call... I witnessed this today, so call!
As long as we stick together, we can’t lose!
Please copy this and post it on your Facebook OR SHARE IT FROM MY PERSONAL PAGE RIGHT NOW! We need to spread the word to everyone!! START emailing now! Parents call tomorrow!! I promise we can do this!!
The confusion from their union has teachers voting on who to follow.
Morejon said he simply tapped into frustration that had long been building.
“I would say at this point the teachers control this so even if the superintendents want to try and open up their buildings, the teachers will be the ones who actually decide if the building opens or closes,” Morejon said.
Morejon has a plan that adds a penny to the gas tax, 25 cents to cigarettes, and ups the income tax. He believes it's more workable than anything OEA has offered.