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Parent Legislative Action Committee launches Public School Week as they advocate for additional funding

Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 24, 2019

This session families came together to create the Parent Legislative Action Committee.

The goal is to be a face for schools as lawmakers debate dozens of bills aimed at education.

This week parents and teachers across the state plan on writing letters and calling lawmakers with personal stories about public schools.

"Public schools in Oklahoma are still last in the region in per pupil funding. That does make a difference to teachers. So we're still trying to retain teachers and get more qualified teachers in the classroom. Teachers want to be successful," Lisa Kramer from the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee said.

The Oklahoma Education Association says they've set an April first deadline for lawmakers to increase classroom funding.

Although teachers say another walkout isn't likely, they are preparing for a rally or some type of statewide event if needed.

Members of the state PLAC tell us for the most part they're feeling optimistic, but as bills move forward that take money out of the funding formula, they are watching to see what happens next.

"I'm just every year thinking "okay, we just got through another year of public school." We managed. Our public school managed with the funds that they have. They did really, really well with what they were given. It makes me nervous for the years to come," Monica Whiteley from the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee said.

There have been wins this session, like the teacher pay raise.

And this week the governor is recognizing "Public Schools Week", which the PLAC sees as a success.

"Validity and credibility are the words that keep coming to mind. To have a governor just stand alongside of us and say "yes, we need to be proud of public schools and we need to showcase what public schools are doing well," Whiteley said.

PLAC members say the biggest win this session was creating a connection with lawmakers, and they hope that will last on the legislative floor.

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