Tulsa Teachers Lobby Education Funding At State Capitol

Thursday, March 22nd 2018, 5:57 pm
By: Emory Bryan

We are 11 days away from a possible teacher walk-out.

The union that set the deadline will release an outline Friday for how lawmakers could fund a raise and increase money for education.

Some teachers from Tulsa are at the capitol now.

The real decisions on the education budget are with legislative leaders, but teachers are down talking to anyone they can find this week.

The legislature is having short days and many representatives and senators are not in their offices.

Tulsa teacher John Croissant walked the halls at the Capitol Thursday, hoping to find someone to lobby on education funding.

He was with a teacher from Union and Bristow, all using time during spring break to try and prevent a walkout set for April 2.

"That is pushing our legislature to work in a non-partisan way, to get something done," Croissant said. 

The teachers found few lawmakers at the Capitol but did have meetings with Democrat Jacob Rosecrants, a former teacher, and another lawmaker.

"On both sides, the good news is, there's conversation, so that's good. I got elected in September and I didn't see conversation for a long long time," Rosecrants said. 

Croissant said despite finding few legislators in the office, he came away confident a deal is in the works.

3/21/2018 Related Story: Oklahoma Lawmakers Working On New Plan For Teacher Raises

The question remains if it's a deal that teachers will accept.

"We might not get where we want to be, but eventually somebody is going to have to make a decision if it's good enough and right now, we've got, I think, our legislature working together, to try and find a solution to this," Croissant said. 

The Oklahoma Education Association plans to lay out their plan Friday morning for new taxes needed to meet their budget goals.

The teachers said they'll keep lobbying the legislature in hopes they can go back to teaching.

"We are much closer to have something put forth in the House and Senate that's not going to make everyone happy, but I think will help maybe get teachers back to work which is where we want to be," Croissant said. 

The legislature is off Friday, and next week ends with Easter, so they won't have many days to come up with a solution before the walkout deadline.