Education, Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National

Oklahoma Teachers Set Strike for April 2

March 13, 2018

By Stephanie West

TULSA, Okla.—Oklahoma teachers will go on strike April 2 unless the state enacts legislation to increase teachers’ pay and raise school funding by more than $800 million. “If the Legislature cannot properly fund education and core state services by the legal deadline of April 1, we are prepared to close schools and stay at the Capitol until it gets done,” Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said Mar. 10. The union is seeking raises of $10,000 for teachers and $5,000 for support professionals over three years, as well as a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees. Teachers have not gotten a raise in 10 years, in part because a 1992 ballot initiative requires a 75% majority in both houses of the state legislature for any tax increase. Their starting pay “is only $31,600,” state schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister told KOSU-TV in Tulsa Mar. 10, and funding cuts have reduced schools in 91 of the state’s 512 districts to a four-day week—which, she said, has attracted teachers who use the extra time off for a second or third job. Administrators in some districts, including Tulsa, have announced that they will close schools to support the strike. Read more

March 13, 2018

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