Putnam City School Board Discusses Teacher Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's four largest school districts have now voted to support a teacher walkout.
Putnam City held a special meeting Tuesday. The board passed a resolution to name April 2 as an advocacy day. April 2 is the day the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) has designed as the first day for teachers to start striking if the legislature doesn’t fund a $10,000 pay raise and increase education funding.
Once again, teachers and parents and students packed into Putnam City's board room and overflowed into hallways and other areas. The Special Board meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and ended with a unanimous vote.
“I’m glad the board is supporting us, I hope that April 2 is enough. We’ll see what happens April 3r” said Lisa Meyers, a teacher with the district. She was at the meeting with her daughter, a speech pathologist, who was just offered $67,000 in another state.
“I’d like to see her live in Oklahoma, but I want her to do what’s best for her,” Meyers said.
Meyers’ decision may rest on the school board's support if a teacher walkout lasts beyond one day.
“I do think there’s a lot of anxiety, what’s going to happen April 3, 4, 5. What’s going to happen after that?” said John Coerver, an elementary school teacher with the district.
Coerver says he hopes teachers can get some information to ease that anxiety soon. Board members, however, say they haven't made any decisions yet on what happens next.
“I think for us the entire solution is very fluid. So, we’re trying to take it one step at a time,” explained board member Jay Sherrill. “There’s a board meeting April 2 that we can take additional actions. There’s obviously the ability to call additional special sessions to take more actions.”
The district's teacher of the year, Shari Gateley, says she believes the district will continue to support them.
“I don’t believe I will have to make a tough decision as far as my job in the district and what we are doing as teachers across the state,” said Gateley
As the potential for a walkout approaches, the Oklahoma City Zoo and several OKC Rec. Centers announced their service to students who will need a place to go. The Zoo will host several all-day camps on weekdays in April in the event of a walkout. Camps will be offered for students ages 4-11 from 8:30-5:15 p.m. for $45 per day.
Nine recreation centers in Oklahoma City will also open for school children from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. weekdays. Access to the recreation centers is free.