OKLAHOMA CITY – A last-minute rally turned into a major event for parents and educators, all trying to stop funding cuts for public schools.
“I invited several friends from Putnam City to bring their children to the Capitol today. Within three hours, it became an event on Facebook, and it was shared everywhere throughout the state,” said Brooke Fonzi, PTA President at Hefner Middle School.
More than 400 people RSVP’ed for the Tuesday event.
“I heard it every time I came up here: ‘You’re the only person I’ve heard from. I never get phone calls. I never get emails.’ And, I said, ‘Well, not this year. That’s going to change,” she said.
Brooke Fonzi, like other parents and teachers, are frustrated by the $110 million cut.
“Anybody who’s been a superintendent for any time at all will tell you we’ve never been in this position before, where we’re looking at cutting so many positions and so many programs at one time,” said Dr. Rick Cobb, superintendent for Mid-Del Schools.
On Tuesday, they’re asking lawmakers to stand up for their children.
One representative said education funding doesn’t go as far as it used to because of an increase in the number of children enrolling in Oklahoma school districts.
“You’ve seen more students come into the system. So, what you’ve had is a reduction in the per people revenue, even though you have overall more revenue,” said State Rep. Jason Nelson.
This month, the governor approved $51 million to be used from the Rainy Day Fund to go toward common education.
Still, it’s a short-term fix.
“I’ve already heard talks of larger class sizes and fewer resources, not filling teacher vacancy positions, and it is not okay that our kids are going to be in classrooms of 35 and 40 kids,” Fonzi said.