Thousands of teachers march outside Oklahoma capitol to demand revenue for general fund

Posted at 4:17 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-02 17:17:29-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Teachers say they're happy with the $6,000 pay increase, and if it was just about teacher raises they wouldn't be marching at the capitol.

But they tell 2 Works for You this comes down to the general fund, and dollars that are desperately needed in the classroom.

Tulsa Public Schools bused down more than 200 teachers. The TPS superintendent said after only getting a quarter of their ask to the general fund and then watching that revenue get repealed last week, they're waiting on a solution.

"This problem isn't solved. We can't walk away from this and say we'll re-visit it in a few years," Dr. Deborah Gist said.

Teachers said they wish they were in the classroom, but they plan to keep up the fight until they see changes for students.

"They want us to be there because they enjoy being in school. I have students that look forward to seeing me every day along with other teachers, and my kids are the reason I get up in the morning," East Central High teacher Abby Bowman said.

Educators said the general fund goes to basics in the classroom. One PE teacher doesn't have any equipment outside a handful of hula hoops.

"It's very, very difficult. I'm told by the state I have to teach a kid to throw a ball, but I don't get any money for a ball," Sequoyah Elementary teacher Jacey Martin said.

Others said they've been waiting on new textbooks for the last 15 years.

"Our freshman class this year... every year that they've been in school there's been funding cuts. So our freshman have never been through a year without cuts," said Stan King with Tahlequah High School.

With a crowd double the size of previous protests, teachers hold out hope this will be a time for change.

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