Educators' Opinions Divided On House Tax Bill

Tuesday, March 27th 2018, 7:12 pm
By: News On 6

Monday’s tax bill vote in the House is getting a lot of reaction today from Oklahoma educators.  Some are applauding the move.  Others are saying it just isn’t enough.

3/26/2018 Related Story:  State House Passes Deal, But Likely Won't Stop April 2 Walkout

As soon as word hit that the House passed a plan raising more than $400 million to fund teacher pay and state employees, reaction poured in.

The superintendents of Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Deborah Gist, says more needs to be done.

Gist took to Twitter, saying “We can do better,” but on Tuesday she did call the passing of the House bill “progress.”

“I recognize what an incredibly big deal it is that they were able to get more than the super majority needed to pass this plan,” said Gist.

However, Gist says, lawmakers still need to recognize the scope of the dilemma facing the state.

“While it is progress, it doesn’t restore the cuts made to our education system, and certainly doesn’t get us to the competitive place we need to be,” stated Gist.

What does this all mean for the planned walkout?  The Oklahoma Education Association tweeted, “April 2 is still on.  Our ask is still our ask.”  They also tweeted, “We’re still asking for a complete package, including funding for years 2 and 3.”

Edison teacher Larry Cagle agrees.

“This is nowhere near a solution.  What it feels like to us in the protest movement is a shameful way to hurry yourselves out and get an early break before the holiday,” said Cagle.  “Why would we essentially just address pay wages without addressing the needs of our children?”

Some reactions were more positive.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister called it a historic, bipartisan measure that finally ensures our dedicated, hard-working teachers receive well-deserved competitive pay.

The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration thanked House members for having the courage to take this step.

Regarding the walkout, Gist says the district will continue to follow the lead of its teachers and the decision on whether or not they have school on Monday will be made by the teachers of Oklahoma.