Debate Over School Funding Continues One Day After Capitol Rally

Tuesday, April 1st 2014, 6:41 pm
By: News 9

The estimated 25,000-30,000 educators Monday called on Legislators for more school funding.

But some legislators called on the supporters to evaluate their district before coming to the Capitol. Out of the 25,000 plus voices individual pleas where heard.

3/31/2014 Related Story: Thousands Of Teachers Join At Capitol To Rally For Education

"We need help, we need the funding we need the state to pay attention to us, please," said Amanda Lyons.

Ponca city teacher Amanda Lyons was most concerned about her 35-40 student classroom size. Something organizer, and former teacher of 34 years, Linda Hampton feels will be addressed as supporters continue to meet with legislators on Tuesday.

"The rally was really step one in turning around this big ship," said Linda Hampton.

A ship that could be met with unsteady waters.

"We have a spending problem," said Rep. Mike Turner.

Representative Mike Turner sees the problem in too many administrators in each district, and the pay of those administrators.

Are you saying superintendents need to take a pay cut? "Absolutely, that needs to be in the discussion," said Turner.

Turner is drawing numbers from the Oklahoma Department of Education. Oklahoma superintendents salaries are decided at the local level.

But throughout the state various superintendents make as much as $251,000 in total compensation, with an average total compensation around $100,000. A financial impact that's only a dent in Hampton's view.

"That could be something the local districts look at but when at the state level you need thousands of teachers you need a more reliable source of income," said Hampton.

Regarding teacher salaries, Oklahoma ranks among the lowest in the nation, with a starting pay just under $32,000.