OKLAHOMA CITY – For the first time in two weeks, students and teachers across the state are back in class.
Last month, the Oklahoma Education Association announced that it is seeking a $10,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers over three years, a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals over three years, a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees, and the restoration of funding for education and core government services.
OEA announced that it was tentatively planning a teacher walkout for April 2 if legislators didn’t meet those demands.
Earlier this month, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raises teachers’ salaries by an average of $6,100. It also gives $1,250 raises for support staff and adds $50 million in education funding.
For nine days, thousands of educators and supporters headed to the Capitol to demand an increase to education funding.
On Thursday, the OEA announced that the walkout was coming to an end.
“We need to face reality. Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out onto the grounds of this Capitol for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday,” OEA President Alicia Priest said.
Despite protests from some teachers, the Oklahoma City Public School District announced that classes would resume on Monday.
The Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools released the following statement:
“We are proud of the teachers, administrators, support staff and families who went to the Capitol to fight for our children. They sent a strong, clear message to the Legislature and the governor that increased funding for public education is the key to a successful future for students and for our community. We also thank the community partners who helped OKCPS families by ensuring children were fed and had somewhere safe to go.
I’m overjoyed to see children returning to school, where they will be loved, cared for and taught the skills they need to grow and thrive.
The Foundation remains committed to working with its partners to provide an exceptional education for all children in OKCPS,” said Mary Melon, President and CEO of The Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools.
As a result of the teacher walkout, the district announced that it would be adding one hour to the end of each school day through the end of the year. The school year is set to end on May 31.