Bartlesville has a different list of asks in order to end the shutdown than the Oklahoma Education Association and many of the teachers believe their list is more attainable.
Their state representative agrees and is working to help them get back to school with the funding they’re asking for.
Bartlesville High School band director Alex Claussen says, “I talked personally to at least five different representatives this morning who all feel it’s doable.”
Claussen and several of his colleagues have been working with legislators in hopes of finding common ground.
Their ask of an additional $50 million for education funding is different from the OEA’s of more than $100 million.
“We feel that our ask is attainable in the short term right now and so that’s why we are pushing,” said Claussen.
Representative Earl Sears says “Bartlesville is being very open and will compromise in regards to, like, if we could get something done on wind, the first year it may only bring in 16 to 18 million dollars, but over the future, it brings in more.”
Two wind tax bills, one in regards to tax credits and another that does away with the refundability on the wind credits, narrowly passed through the appropriations and budget committee, but Sears believes wind energy holds a lot of weight.
“I truly believe wind unlocks a lot of things to have closure with this walkout,” stated Sears.
It’s not guaranteed that all of the money generated through these bills would be earmarked for education, but it could add up.
Sears says “that money would just go to the GR and from the GR we pay all of our bills, which is public education, corrections, public safety, etc.”
But for now, getting back to class remains the number one goal.
“The quicker we resolve this and get our teachers back in the classroom, everybody will be happy,” said Sears.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of staying out longer,” said Claussen. “It’s staying out until we get it done.”
Bartlesville is out tomorrow, but they’re taking it day by day, seeing what’s discussed in the legislature, but a lot of teachers tell me they are ready to go back to school as long as their ask is received.