OEA Outlines Demands To Avoid Teacher Strike
OKLAHOMA CITY - Teachers are listing their demands to avert a statewide strike. They want massive raises, not just for themselves but for support staff and state workers.
The teachers want lawmakers to come up $3.3 billion over the next three years, $800 million of it by April second, or teachers say they’re walking.
“We demand that the legislature pass a budget with the necessary revenue to provide teachers and support professionals a significant pay raise,” said Alicia Priest with the Oklahoma Education Association.
The demands include:
- $10,000 more per year for teachers; six thousand more for the fiscal year 2019 budget then two thousand dollar raises over the next two years.
- $5,000 raises for support professionals like secretaries, custodians and bus drivers.
- $200 million to restore school funding
- $213 million more for state employee raises
- $255 million for health care funding.
That’s $3.3 billion over three years at a time when lawmakers have failed time and time again to raise any taxes this past year, despite two special sessions and a concurrent session.
“They absolutely can do it. They just have to have the will and the fortitude to do it.” Priest said, “We have 700,000 students in the state of Oklahoma are depending on them to work together to fund their schools.”
But legislative leaders aren’t so sure they can pull off even a $10,000 raise.
“That would be about $600 million additional revenue. We’ve seen the struggles in the house to see anything to raise $300 to $400 million,” said Senator Mike Schulz (R) President Pro Tempore.
Priest replied, “We love our students and we love helping them learn. We do not want to shut down schools and leave our classrooms to come to the capitol. But we will.”
The director of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association says his board will meet Saturday to discuss a state employee walkout to support the teachers.