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Teachers and parents prepare to advocate against voucher bills at the capitol

Teachers advocating against voucher bills
Posted at 8:32 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 23:18:39-05

BIXBY, Okla. — Some teachers tell 2 Works for You it's as if they aren't being heard. As educators ask lawmakers for more money in the classroom, multiple voucher bills are appearing, which would divert public funds into things like private schools or campuses for the homeless.

"There are things to look forward to but at the same time when these bills pop up it is frustrating and it feels like you're taking a step back," Bixby North Intermediate teacher Jamie Lynch said.

In some districts, the biggest concern is class sizes. But teachers said in more rural areas, there often aren't enough books for every student.

"We're advocates for kids all across our state that come from places where there isn't paper available, there isn't the books available, or the folders that they need," Lynch said.

Voucher funds are set aside before money is allocated to public schools. If senate bills like 360 or 901 passed it would reduce the amount available in public classrooms. For this reason, Parent Legislative Action Committees are preparing to address lawmakers directly.

"There's over 700,000 students in public schools. I think that should be the legislature's priority. They should focus all of our resources on helping those kids that are in public schools and not the kids that are being served by private schools," Bixby PLAC co-chair Lisa Kramer said.

Kramer is an accountant, and said she's worried about the state's estimate to spend around 200 million on core services this year.

"There is education that needs the money, incarceration needs the money, health in Oklahoma needs the money. Then all of a sudden we have all of these bills that are seeking to divert money away from public education and other core services and I'm very concerned," she said.

After winter weather cancelled this month's visit, teachers and parents are planning their next capitol trip for early March.

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