Oklahoma Superintendents Weigh In On Possible Teacher Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - Superintendents from across the state met Tuesday to discuss a possible school shut down. Teachers are now saying they will strike if legislators don't give them a raise and increase education funding.
About 60 Superintendents met for several hours discussing what a school shut down would mean and what their next move should be.
A resolution supporting teachers and, if it comes to it, a school shut down was met with loud cheers at Monday night's Oklahoma City School Board meeting.
Teachers and the teacher's union are hoping for similar support from districts across the state as they move toward a strike.
“I was in college during the walk out in 1990 and I participated in that because my mom’s a teacher,” recalls Dr. Rick Cobb the Mid-Del Superintendent. Now he’s having to decide on how his district will respond with the threat of another strike.
“Even when the profession is insulted and teachers aren’t taken care of, they still stick around and take care of kids. And maybe that’s the variable that needs to change,” said Dr. Cobb Tuesday.
Cobb says they have polled teachers and are looking at language for a resolution. His board meets next Monday.
After the recent failure of the Step Up plan, a grassroots effort grew on social media. Now, the teachers union says only action in the state legislature can prevent a school shutdown.
“The kids in the classroom are in the middle of an adult fight right now and they don’t need to be,” said Bret Towne, the Edmond Superintendent.
Towne says they are still gathering information before making a definitive decision on what their next move will be.
“Here’s one thing that’s incontrovertible: we stand with our teachers needing a pay raise in Oklahoma.”
And all superintendents say the consensus is they would like to see a walk out avoided.
“Quite frankly we want to avoid our teachers not in the classroom,” said Stacey Butterfield the Jenks Superintendent. “Our teachers need to be in the classroom, our students or families need them to be in the classroom. At the same time our teachers deserve to have a livable wage.”
Many of the superintendents said they would like to see a specific plan before making any decisions.
The Oklahoma Education Association has set a deadline for lawmakers to fund teacher pay raises and education needs for April 23. OEA says after that, school will indeed shut down if teachers needs are not met.