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Oklahoma teachers set funding goals, say another walkout is 'an option'

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 19:13:08-05

The Oklahoma Education Association continues its efforts in 2019 to lobby the state legislature for increased funding to education. OEA released its Year 2 goals of the “Together We’re Stronger” initiative.

OEA President Alicia Priest said that the State Board of Equalization’s announcement this week of $612 million in new money for legislature, she believes the group’s Year 2 goals “are within reach.”

OEA is asking for:

  • $150 million in classroom funding
  • $150 million in classroom funding
  • $2,500 raise for support staff
  • 8 percent COLA for retirees

“Last year’s gains were certainly historic, and much appreciated, but there is still work to do,” Priest said. “Our teacher shortage is even worse this year. The State Board of Education has granted 2,852 emergency certifications – that’s 1,001 more than all of last year. Schools still have large class sizes and haven’t been able to replace teaching positions and courses that have been cut over the last few years.”

The 2018 legislature appropriated about 95 percent of OEA’s Year 1 goals: an average $6,100 salary increase for teachers, $1,250 for support professionals, and $50 million to the education funding.

OEA led a teacher walkout in spring 2018 and then announced a three-year plan to raise teacher pay by $10,000.

Another teacher walkout is an option, but it is not a priority goal, Priest said.

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