“The best way to advocate is to vote,” Yukon schools will be closed on election day

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YUKON, Okla. - For the past two weeks, teachers have been at the Oklahoma State Capitol to push for more education funding.

Even though the walkout officially came to an end last week, one local school district said it is taking the fight for funding to the polls.

"If you want to advocate, the best way to advocate is to vote,” said Dr. Jason Simeroth, superintendent of Yukon Public Schools.

Last week, Simeroth released a letter saying Yukon Public Schools will be closed for election day on Nov. 6.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to show how districts are serious, and teachers can show how serious they are,” Simeroth said.

So far, Yukon is the only public school district to make the announcement, but Simeroth said he expects others to follow.

"If you get the teachers to vote, it could be the largest voting group in the state of Oklahoma, but they have to vote and that's the key,” Simeroth said.

According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, the 2014 general election recorded the lowest voter turnout in decades.

Officials tell News 4 nearly 41 percent of registered voters went to the polls, which is the lowest number of voters since 1978.

Simeroth said voting can be a challenge for those who work in the district to make it to their polling place in time.

"I mean it's 7 to 7, but a teacher works 7 to 7 a lot of days," he said. "It's hard for them, so we want to provide that without losing instruction days."

The district said they are also working on efforts to get more teachers registered to vote.

"As a school district, we can't promote candidates or ballot questions, but we can help you get registered and provide opportunities to go vote,” he said.

He also hopes those who do head to the polls will educate themselves before the elections.

"I think you need to look at the ones that did support education, and you need to look at the ones that didn't support education," he said. "As an instructional team, that's what I think we need to do and I think it can really make a difference."

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