School Districts Preparing To Rally At OK Capitol For Education

Thursday, March 27th 2014, 6:40 pm
By: News 9

Supporters call it the largest rally for education in two decades. Representatives from every school district in the state will rally at the capitol Monday.

The goal is to express concerns on state education funding. In order to rally right here, several Oklahoma school districts have rescheduled teacher work days. Others have even canceled class.

Guthrie Schools has done neither. But still knows the importance of Monday.

"When it comes down to it we still have a lot less per student to do with our kids than we did in 2009," said Guthrie Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson.

On the issue of public school funding, Dr. Mike Simpson has as much steam as any educator in the state.

"If there are 35 students in a classroom of 1st graders, that's not a healthy teaching environment," said Dr. Simpson.

Dr. Simpson is the superintendent for Guthrie Public Schools.

"And I think every educator in the state feels that way," said Dr. Simpson.

Along with parents, when they see state school funding is $200 million less than in 2008, yet educates 40,000 more students, according to the Oklahoma Educators Association.

"Says we don't care, says we don't care about our kids we don't care about the future," said Guthrie Parent James Long.

Business owner James Long has a child in one of those overcrowded 1st grade classes in Guthrie.

"I would put it in a state of severity we need funding in our schools," said Long.

Guthrie is joining the expected 25,000 supporters from every district in the state at the Rally for Education on Monday. To do so, Dr. Simpson has received private donations from citizens to pay for substitute teachers.

"I felt that was a good way for the community to support our teachers and a way to allow our teachers to go without having a financial impact to the district," said Dr. Simpson.

It's a decision Long is in full support of.

"As a business owner, you go get it, you do the things necessary to get the things you need so you can do your job, and that's what they're doing, they're letting legislators know they need things," said Long.

As far what Dr. Simpson hopes to come out of the rally, he said the number one thing is that everyone walks away with an idea that people really do care about kids in the state of Oklahoma.