Oklahoma School Districts Make Contingency Plans For Teacher Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - School districts are finalizing plans for the impending teacher strike in April. Closures will affect not only the education of students, but also extracurricular activities, meals and state testing.
One of the biggest focuses for districts right now is making sure students get fed. In Oklahoma City, nutrition staff and school bus drivers will continue working, delivering lunch to neighborhood drop-off sites each day. The Regional Food Bank is also providing a large portion of additional meals in local districts, but administrators say they can use all the help they can get.
“We’re asking our community partners, if you have a relationship with a school already, please reach out to your people,” said OKCPS board member Jace Kirk.
They may also need help conducting mandatory state testing. The deadline for in-person annual grade-level tests is April 20. ACT and SAT testing will take place April 3 and April 10, respectively. National AP testing happens in May.
“I’m certified,” said OKCPS interim superintendent Rebecca Kaye. “I can administer AP exams if it comes to it. We’ll make it work.”
The Oklahoma Department of Education is still determining its plan of action, but notes that this testing is vital for the state to receive federal funding and track the success of students.
Kaye hopes a strike does not last too long, as districts only have a handful of extra days to use before having to extend the school year.
She said, “At a certain point we’ll have to adjust the calendar to continue going to school into June, so we may be on a true continuous calendar for next year.”
Some coaches and staff members say they will work with students involved in certain after-school activities and sports, but districts will have to communicate with each other to coordinate scheduled events.
Administrators say they will do whatever they can to continue serving both students and teachers.
“We don’t have a choice right now but to pull out all the stops and get creative about how we can make sure our kids are taken care of, so that our teachers can advocate for what they deserve,” said Kaye.
While a strike would have a major impact on the daily lives of thousands of Oklahomans, Kaye says they are preparing for the strike to last indefinitely.