Tuesday, July 16

Oklahoma Teachers Plan Walkout Amid Low-Pay Issues

Schools across the country have been in the spotlight in recent weeks due to gun control. However, public schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma have been in the news because of something a little different.

According to KFOR, the school district announced they will be taking part in a statewide teacher walkout. Superintendent Deborah Gist said they will be supporting this move, along with all other walkouts across the State of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Education Association is looking for a $10,000 pay raise for teachers who have been working in the district for over three years. According to News 9, they’re also looking for a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals who have been within the district for over three years. The association would like to also work out a plan regarding the cost-of-living adjustments for retirees and restoring funding for education and government services.

If the Oklahoma Education Association’s demands aren’t met, the plan states they will shut down on April 2. That is, unless they are able to reach an agreement by April 1. Superintendent Gist spoke with KFOR about the shutdown.

“Every school in our district would be closed indefinitely until Oklahoma state leaders create a permanent sustainable plan to pay educators the professional salaries they deserve,” Gist said.

In 2013, the public school student to teacher ratio was 16:1. If the schools were to shut down until their demands are met, that ratio would face a huge risk, and a lot of children would be without their necessary education. Teachers also plan to adopt a “work the contract” effort, which means they will only work seven hours and 50 minutes each day instead of working during the weekend or late into the evening.

Superintendent Gist said they are working with partner agencies and community advocates to figure out how to work with children and families in the event a shutdown does happen. Children who normally go to school would have to be put up in a daycare service and provided additional help during that time.

As a whole, the district hopes to avoid the walkout or any shutdowns, but if it does need to happen, they plan to be prepared to do whatever needs to be done.

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