Superintendents discuss plan in case of teacher walkout; OKCPS voices support for teachers

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The state's largest school district is voicing their support for teachers' voices when it comes to a strike.

"Last night, our school board made a very bold statement in support of our teachers in that we will support the voices of our teachers and we will support our teachers in what they need to advocate for themselves at the capitol,” said Oklahoma City Public Schools Acting Superintendent Rebecca Kaye.

It's a swift decision after teachers voiced frustrations with another failed budget plan to fund a $5,000 teacher pay raise.

The Facebook group 'Oklahoma Teacher Walkout- The Time Is Now!' has more than 40,000 members.

Also, the state's largest teacher union, the Oklahoma Education Association, surveyed members;10,000 people responded with almost 80 percent supporting a shutdown of schools.

"The survey also showed that 75 percent, 76 percent of community members and parents are supportive of that school shutdown as well,” said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

If the legislature doesn't act quickly to fund public education, they will organize a walkout.

Meanwhile, at the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, superintendents spent Tuesday discussing a plan if teachers decide on a strike.

''That's what we're working on now is a plan in moving forward and if a walkout is the only answer and the end results, absolutely. I support the teachers, not only in Moore Public Schools but in the state,” said Moore Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines.

"Recognition that this is a big movement, that it's teacher drive and that we have to listen to our teachers,” said Dr. Rick Cobb, superintendent of Mid-Del Schools.

For some teachers, the failure of the 'Step Up Oklahoma' plan was the final straw.

“Traumatized from the fact that the state did not come together again for a multitude of years and provide revenue that supported a teacher pay raise,” said Ranet Tippens, Deer Creek Schools superintendent.

Madison Wingate has taught at Pierce Elementary for five years.

She is a certified teacher with a passion for educating young children - something made more difficult by her own salary.

“We're professionals. We need to be treated like professionals, and we need to be able to support our family because we can't come to work ready to take care of these kids if we can't take care of our own kids,” said Wingate, who was also the 2017 Oklahoma City Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

She said, as long as the students are taken care of, she will support a teacher strike.

It's a move many educators hope will help the 600,000 students in Oklahoma schools to become successful future leaders.

For the OKCPS release, click here.

The Oklahoma Education Association will announce their plan for a walkout Thursday.

They will also hold a town hall that night at their facility.

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