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Republican gubernatorial candidate calls for end of Oklahoma teacher walkout in Facebook post

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican gubernatorial candidate released a statement calling for the end of the Oklahoma teacher walkout.

Oklahoma teachers will continue their walkout for a sixth day Monday, maintaining their pressure on state legislators for increased education funding.

The teachers were granted a pay raise last month but say the state’s school facilities, equipment and textbooks are rundown, outdated or in short supply and more spending is needed.

Many of the state’s school districts — including those in Oklahoma City and Tulsa — will be closed Monday because of the walkout.

Before the walkout can end, the Legislature must pass a bill ending the state’s capital gains tax deduction and the governor must veto the repeal of a hotel-motel tax bill, Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest told reporters Friday.

Gary Richardson, who is running for governor in Oklahoma, released a statement last Friday calling for the walkout to end.

“I have said from the beginning I believe the teachers’ outrage over the lack of leadership at the State Capitol was justified. But my support turns to anger when the union tactics are less about education and more about pushing a liberal agenda demanding higher taxes and increased government spending.

Working Oklahomans took a pay cut in order to fund a teacher pay raise — and that’s something I don’t take lightly.

The state approved almost $500 million in new taxes to provide a $6,100 raise for every teacher and to allocate $50 million more for classrooms which is even more than they originally requested.  Yet the union pushes for even more tax hikes and school districts are starting to declare cancellations for Monday.

The results of state wide standardized testing, which began this week, is a critical factor in determining our federal education funding. If the union continues their push for more and more taxes, Oklahoma risks losing close to $700 million in federal funds, and the union will have to answer for that.

I encourage individual teachers and school board members across Oklahoma to evaluate, without union interference, whether the walkout has strayed from its original purpose.

In politics, as in life, no one gets everything they want.”

Richardson’s post on the walkout received both positive and negative feedback.