“No one wins with a walkout,” Association urges communication, planning amid potential walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY - The head of Oklahoma's school boards association said districts need to communicate with their educators on plans amid a potential teacher walkout.

"Our biggest issue is and our biggest ask is we need a solution prior to April 2," said Shawn Hime. "No one wins with a walkout."

But, Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, said as they wait for possible solutions over teacher pay raises from the Legislature, schools need to be prepared.

Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest said as of Wednesday, no less than 50 school boards have passed resolutions supporting their teachers who choose to participate in the walkout.

"We’ve had more than 11,000 people take a pledge online to stand with teachers and thousands more have signed pledge cards at community events that are happening across the state," Priest said in a Facebook post.

On Wednesday, a number of superintendents and school leaders met with the OSSBA to discuss questions that still linger. Hime said, overall, the effect of a walkout will vary district by district.

"The board members and superintendent will have to make a decision that say 20 percent of teachers, or 30 percent of their teachers… enough teachers are going to be gone to where they can’t have class effectively and safely then they would have to cease operations for that day," he said.

Another decision that will have to come from individual districts will be how the days will be made up or if they have to be made up at all.

"Each school has a school calendar of required hours or required days per Oklahoma law, and they would still need to meet those days," Hime said. "Some may, if they have a work stoppage that’s long enough, they have to come back after their normal school calendar to make up days."

Dr. Robert Romines, superintendent for Moore Public Schools, said they have started finalizing preliminary plans for a potential walkout. Like Hime, he said they would prefer to see solutions from the Legislature regarding teacher pay and funding.

"It’s like trying to hit many moving targets at any given point in time," Romines said. "We don’t want a walkout to occur. I don’t want one. The board of education doesn’t want one. The teachers don’t want one, but they don’t see any other alternative. At this point in time, I agree with that statement."

He told News 4 about 80 percent of their teachers have indicated they would support a potential walkout in a past survey. However, if schools do close as a result of a walkout, Romines said extracurricular activities will continue.

"Students who had to prepare all year long for, whether it be golf or baseball, softball, speech and debate, choir, band, all of those things... those are things that can’t be made up," he said.

Romines said another poll will be sent out to get a better idea of how many teachers would actually participate in the walkout.