Tulsa Area Parent Legislative Action Committee rallies for $150M in additional education funding

Oklahoma parents want more money for education, and they are letting their legislators know about it.

The Tulsa Area Parent Legislative Action Committee is leading an effort to increase the 2013-14 common education budget by $150 million.

Earlier this month, PLAC passed out 120 letters asking for the additional funding. They are now urging parents who haven't done so to contact their representatives.

"A bunch of school districts and PLAC have been going to the capitol since the session started to lobby for education funding," said PLAC President Melissa Abdo.

The letters request $100 million to offset increased enrollment and the impact of State Question 766, which eliminated property taxes on intangible property.

"The unfortunate reality is $100M is necessary for a ‘flat' budget, and another flat budget is not acceptable for Oklahoma public school students," the letter states.

View the full letter here (http://bit.ly/12hDcd9) 

The other $50 million would allow districts the means to hire and retain teachers, provide smaller class sizes and fulfill unfunded mandates.

Representatives from PLAC have traveled to Oklahoma City once a month since February. Parents from 14 school districts attended the last "Capitol Day."

"What always sparks parents is growing class sizes," Abdo said. "What makes them want to come to a meeting or lobby at the Capitol or take time out of their day is they are concerned that we are not able to offer the programs and the services to the students that we used to be able to offer that they are being reduced.

Abdo said, in light of incidents around the country on school campuses like Sandyhook Elementary, funding for tighter security is also a high priority for parents.

"The security issues that parents are obviously concerned about are schools having to increase their security measures, and there's been no additional funding to put that into place."

PLAC's last Capitol Day is May 20, and Abdo said she expects to see families from not only the Tulsa area, but from all around Oklahoma.

"This year, it has become a statewide effort," she said. "The concerns of parents are universal across the state."

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