Thousands To Convene At State Capitol On Walkout's 1st Day
OKLAHOMA CITY - Around 200 Oklahoma schools have canceled classes Monday as tens of thousands of teachers and supporters converge on the Capitol.
This is after Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week approving the largest teacher pay raise in the state’s history.
Teachers told News 9 Monday's strike is years in the making and the result of drastic cuts to funding for public education.
The protest comes after Fallin signed legislation Thursday granting teachers annual pay raises averaging $6,100.
The Senate voted to increase taxes on oil and gas production, cigarettes and fuel.
Oklahoma teachers had been making an average of $45,000 a year, making them the lowest paid educators in the country.
While teachers say they appreciate the pay raise, they're taking issue with state lawmakers shorting their students by slating only $50 million for education programs and supplies.
Alicia Priest, Oklahoma Education Association president, said the union had asked that teachers' pay be raised by $10,000 annually and that funding for education be boosted by $200 million over the next three years.
About 30,000 teachers are expected Monday morning at the Capitol to send a clear message that education must be a top priority and that their students deserve more.