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School districts and lawmakers scramble for solutions after day 7 of walkout

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 16:39:25-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Education Association says at this point all they're looking for is another $50 million.

They're not picky about how that money comes in, they just want funding they can rely on for years to come.

As they set this new line in the sand to lawmakers for the walkout to end, the movement continues to grow.


"Our job is to help educate the public for what schools need. Their job is to pass the appropriate legislation. Whether that's a cap on wind deductions or a gross production tax on the megawatt hour on wind... that's their job," OEA Vice President Katherine Bishop said.
 

Originally the Education Association asked for the repeal of a capitol gains exemption. That passed the senate, but hasn't found success on the house floor. Lawmakers said they're happy to put in extra time if it means finding the right solution.

"At this point I know it's been difficult on parents when their kids have been out of school for a week and a half with prospects where it doesn't look like we're going to be able to resolve this quickly," Senator Michael Brooks said.

 

Senate Bill 888 passed committee to repeal the repeal the refundable tax credit for wind energy. Senator Josh Brecheen authored the bill with the hopes it will pass the house faster than a GPT on wind, which requires a super majority.

"It's an unattainable task. It's also not right when you have a corporate welfare payment on the books. That is a simple solution to get to 70 million dollars. Over ten years we have 500 to 700 million dollars in savings to the taxpayer," Brecheen said.
 
Right now 888 doesn't guarantee funding to education. Instead it will look at needs such as education, public safety and roads once the funding comes in. That may not meet OEA needs to end the walkout.

"The legislature may be a little surprised at the will of the people here at the capitol. That they are willing to be here and speak up for their kids, the community support that we have received... it's been overwhelming," Bishop said.
 
School districts are figuring out plans as they go right now. Broken Arrow said if they walkout ends this week they can add minutes to the remaining days to finish school before Memorial Day. Tulsa Public Schools can add days through the walkout Wednesday before having to look at construction concerns. Jenks and Union said they'll be announcing specifics once students are back in the classroom.

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