School Districts Across Oklahoma Plan To Take Election Day Off

Tuesday, October 30th 2018, 5:41 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Many Oklahoma school districts want to make sure the voices of educators are heard on election day. So many will be closing their schools, including the two biggest districts in the state.

Kids from Oklahoma City and Tulsa districts will not be in school next Tuesday. In total the OEA estimates twenty districts are out of school on election day.

Fresh off the momentum of the teachers walkout, Yukon School Superintendent Jason Simeroth brought the idea of closing school on election day up to his school board.

“They were all over it, they said it’s a great idea,” said Simeroth. “Community was behind it, our parents. We had no negative feedback from our parents.”

Simeroth says they wanted to make sure educators had the time to vote and lawmakers knew they would be making their voices heard at the ballot box.

They moved a scheduled day off in April to November 6th.

“We’re not hurting students, we’re not taking away instruction. We’re just making it a priority of educators to get out and support what they’ve been asking for.”

Simeroth says Yukon became the first district in the state to decide to close. Since then 19 others have followed: either closing school on election day, holding a professional work day, or holding half day classes.

“It is a wide span of different schools that have worked with their school boards to change their calendar to take this day off,” OEA Vice President Katherine Bishop said.

Allowing educators, she says, to make good on the promise they made in April: to remember in November.

“This makes a statement to our public that civic engagement around voting matters, and it’s about making sure people get out the vote, get to the polls and what a great opportunity for parents to take their children with them to the polls,” Bishop said.

OEA says they would like to see this continue and for more schools to take election day off in future.