Classes Have Resumed, But Many Teachers, Supporters Still At Capitol

Tuesday, April 17th 2018, 6:11 pm

Teachers from Tulsa, Bartlesville, and many other districts remain at the Capitol, just in smaller groups than before.

A lot of teachers believe they have unfinished business at the Capitol.  They still want more classroom funding and say they’re increasingly worried that what’s been approved could be pulled back.

The capitol is not crowded with protesting teachers, but make no mistake - they're still there.  The galleries have lines waiting to get in and when lawmakers meet, even on completely unrelated topics, there's an audience.

“We've got the pay coming in, but we’ve got to get the rest of our funding,” said Broken Arrow teacher Gayle Hahn.  “It’s very important to us.  We’ve got to fight for our kids and make sure we’re taking care of them just as much as anything else.”

The crowd has shifted more towards parents and supporters, now that most teachers are back in the classroom.

Complete Coverage:  School Shutdown

A group from Oologah cornered Oklahoma City Representative Mickey Dollens, a supporter of more funding, to get his insight.

"How do we make this stop so our schools and teachers have the funding that they need?” asked Oologah parent Monica Clark.

Dollens said in response that the state should “stop income tax cuts and wasteful corporate subsidies.  That’s the whole reason we’re in this mess.  As Representative Echols pointed out, the most stable thing is income taxes.”

A growing concern among education-friendly lawmakers and teachers is a veto referendum that could unwind the raises, the funding, and the taxes to pay for them.

“It could be devastating to all the hard work that our teachers and community members, teachers and our school boards have put forth," said Dan Droege from Bartlesville.

With so much as stake, some parents, teachers, and the teacher’s unions say they'll keep the pressure on.

“We'll keep going because we’re fighting for what’s right, we’re on the side of kids, and we’ll keep going until our children get what they need,” declared Shawna Mott-Wright from Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.

There is the potential that the veto petition effort could stall the tax increases and the raises, even before the possible vote in November.

One avenue is a court order, an injunction - and that’s another worry for educators at the Capitol.