Oklahoma Legislator Optimistic About Education Funding
OKLAHOMA CITY - One year ago April 2, thousands of Oklahoma teachers walked out of the classroom to fill the state capitol, fighting for more education money. Teachers say they haven't stopped fighting, and the Oklahoma Education Association is calling on all Oklahomans to make their voices heard.
As last year's teacher walkout came to a close, educators promised it wasn't the end. And before this legislative session even began, the OEA laid out its agenda which included additional raises for teachers and support personnel and $150 million more for the classroom
And although lawmakers didn't make their deadline Monday to pass a new education budget, OEA President Alicia Priest says they are hearing there is movement toward an increase in funding for schools.
"We need some positive action," said Alicia Priest, OEA president.
"Our kids are counting on it. Our kids deserve better."
Representative Mark McBride heads up the House Education Budget Committee. He says he will be meeting with his senate counterpart Tuesday to work on hammering out a deal.
"We're gonna get a deal done," McBride said. "It's going to be a decent deal.
"We're not that far apart. I think the biggest thing between the House and the senate currently would be the teacher pay raise."
Governor Kevin Stitt has called for a $1,200 teacher raise, that already passed the House. McBride says he expects to see an increase in classroom appropriations as well.
"We do need to get a certain amount of money into the classroom, but I think we have the money to do that," he said.
OEA says they will be wrapping up their week of advocacy by inviting lawmakers into the schools on Friday.