“We are 95% to our goal,” OEA pushing for last bit of funding before walkout can come to an end

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Teachers say they will be back at the Capitol, diligently working with legislators to get the funding they need to bring an end to the walkout.

The Oklahoma Education Association is telling their members that the fight is not over.

"We are 95% to our goal. And the accomplishments that educators' voice, community members' voice have been heard and what we have been able to accomplish is incredible," said Katherine Bishop, OEA's vice president.

The organization asked for $506 million in the first year, which included increases to teacher and support pay and school funding. Right now, they say they have $479 million of that secured and recurring.

"Our first year goals are really lined up, but we have to have a path forward!" Alicia Priest, president of the OEA, said to a crowd on Wednesday.

The OEA is now working on that and lobbying against several bills that were filed Tuesday. They say those bills will be detrimental to education, including caps to superintendents' salaries, school consolidation and getting stipends for classroom supplies from the Commissioners of the Land Office.

"It is against the trust law to touch the corpus of that, we can't do it. It's already declared unconstitutional," Priest said.

Teachers say they are disappointed that some districts have decided to resume classes on Thursday.

"It's important that we're here. I think this is something, if we quit now, we're not gonna have another opportunity at this. Legislators might feel like they have a victory in that, and then it will be back to business as usual. And business isn't funding schools apparently," said Cali Soderquist, an Oklahoma City teacher.

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