Green Country administrators, teachers, parents, students rally in OKC for education funding

Thousands of teachers were part of the crowd Monday outside the Oklahoma Capitol, rallying for increased funding for the state's schools.

PHOTO GALLERY: Thousands rally for education funding at state Capitol

Nearly 1,000 educators from Tulsa Public Schools boarded buses and made the 90-mile trek to Oklahoma City.

They may not have been in the classroom Monday, but if you ask them attending the rally was part of their jobs.

Teachers say they've watched classes grow while schools' staffs decline.

"Our funding has been cut drastically since 2008 and it's cut into our progress and it's cut in to the number of teacher that we have," said teacher Matt Trosper.

For many of these parents, it is personal. They have family members and friends who wither attend or work at public schools, and they want tax dollars to be used to benefit them. 

"We are the 49th, and we are a laughing stock," said Tulsa Public Schools parent Gary Strickland. "We've got to change this."

He brought his children to rally to stand up for those who cannot afford the increasing cost of public education, he told 2NEWS. 

"When I was a kids in the 60s, I had to bring pencil and paper, everything else was supplied by the schools," he said. "It's ridiculous my family can afford it, but I feel horrible for those families who can't support the cleaning crew."

Julie Godfrey, whose daughter is a teacher at Claremore Public Schools, took a day of vacation to rally Monday.

"It was worth it," she said. "Our children have got to be put first; the education has got to come first."

TPS superintendent Keith Ballard was among the educators, administrators, parents and students in Oklahoma City. He spoke to the crowds, urging lawmakers to make students a priority. 

"This is not a union-style rally about money, but let me tell you what it is about today: it's about respect," Ballard said.

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