TPS Out Monday Despite Latest Education Funding Package

Thursday, March 29th 2018, 6:13 pm

Tulsa Public Schools says it will be closed Monday despite a nearly half-billion-dollar education funding package which Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign.

3/29/2018 Related Story: School Districts Announcing Plans For Teacher Walkout

Tulsa Public Schools said this is not over.

Tulsa schools will be closed Monday with the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association saying teachers still want to walk out and do not plan to be at school.

The plan would mean the average teacher would see about a $6,000 raise.

The funding plan includes a tax increase on cigarettes and fuel, along with raising the gross production tax from two percent to five percent.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said the fact that the legislature worked together in a bipartisan way to pass something significant is worth taking a moment to celebrate and be pleased about.

But she wants to know what happens going forward.

"What we're working through at the moment is what happens next? Our teachers, through the Oklahoma Education Association, made a specific request. The request is different from what was passed. There are aspects of it that are in line and I think the one that a lot of people have focused on is the teacher salary increase," said Dr. Gist. 

She said the salary increase is a positive, but emphasized that teachers aren't walking out for themselves but for the students.

Gist said it's unclear what teachers will ask for now that a funding package has been passed, she knows what her message will be.

"I don't know what the whole message will be. I know my message will be, 'Thank you.' This is awesome,' and 'Let's talk about what needs to happen in addition to what happened this year,'" Gist said.

Right now, Gist said TPS hasn't made a decision about closing schools on Tuesday and beyond. She said everything is happening minute-by-minute.