Teachers commit to work their contract hours and cancel TPS Elementary Music Festival

TULSA -- Teachers are sticking to their promise to only work their contract day, and, as much as it pains them, some are calling off a beloved event to push for higher pay. 

Rhonda Wyble, a music teacher at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, usually works long hours after the school day to organize the Elementary Music Festival with other music teachers in the district. This year, however, they decided to cancel the event to stand for a cause. 

"At first we thought our kids have worked hard enough. We've just got to push on through anyway," Wyble said, "and then we felt like this is such an important cause. We're just going to make the sacrifice. It broke our hearts. Some of our kids are really unhappy, but they understand." 

Wyble said she is now trying to explain to the kids why this is important. 

"We need the legislature to understand that our schools are worthy," she said. "Our students are worthy of more funding." 

Teachers across Oklahoma are demanding higher pay and additional funding for education. Hundreds of students walked out Wednesday afternoon at Webster High School to support this effort as well as their teachers' decisions to cancel events to stick with the cause. 

"It's unfortunate that it's had to come to this and that it's taken so long for people not to listen," senior

Branden Sorrels said, "but I think, just like we are, (the teachers) are doing whatever they have to do necessary to get the word across." 

Teachers are giving lawmakers until April 1 to pass a pay raise. With no resolution in sight, though,

Wyble and her fellow teachers are keeping up the drum beat to bring about change. They're asking parents and students upset about the situation to contact their legislators. 

"Talk to your senator (and) your representative," Wyble said. "Let them know what is so important about this music program, about missing this festival and what value you place on it for your students." 

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