TULSA, Okla. — Teachers said they were shocked seeing posts on Facebook circulating about a mass gathering of educators at the capitol. It all started with House Bill 2621: an expansion of tax credits that would benefit companies giving donations to private schools.
"Many of us see it as backsliding, taking more away from the general revenue of the state," Union 6th/7th Grade Center teacher Brendan Jarvis said.
Voucher funds are set aside before money is allocated to public schools. But teachers said the bill was taken off Monday's agenda, and educators tell 2 Works for You the title was struck. That means it will siginificantly reworked before making it to the legislative floor. Still, teachers find the session is night and day compared to this time last year.
"There was someone who was voted out that literally would hide in his office when teachers came to the capitol. That is not happening now. His replacement is very good. There's others like that but we have made progress in that area," Jarvis said.
Union teachers said just in the last few years they've noticed the drastic impact of cutting costs.
"We haven't gotten any of those back. We don't have teacher aids, we don't have librarians, music, art... all of those programs have been cut and they haven't come back yet," Union 8th Grade Center teacher Betty Collins said.
The Oklahoma Education Association has set an April first deadline for lawmakers to increase classroom funding. If that's not met, OEA has called for statewide action from educators.
"The better educated more people are, the better educated our state is then the better our state is going to be. The only way to get us to a top 10 state is if our education is in the top 10," Collins said.
Instead of a walkout, teachers said that action is more likely to be a rally or flooding phone lines for legislators. As of now, they're staying optimistic.
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