Poteau Schools Closed Monday For Teacher Walkout

The Oklahoma State Senate

The Oklahoma State Senate

As lawmakers, teachers, union leaders and special interest groups battle over tax increase bills to fund schools, the most impacted group of Oklahomans might be the almost 700,000 students in the state's public school system.

According to National Education Association estimates for 2016, Oklahoma ranked 48th, followed by MS at 49 and South Dakota at 50, in terms of average USA classroom teacher salary.

But the Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest education union, is demanding more and encouraging teachers to walkout and rally at the Capitol on Monday after the lodging tax - which was estimated to generate $50.4 million annually - was repealed a day after being passed.

OEA President Alicia Priest said in a statement Wednesday evening that the bill's passage was "a truly historic moment" and "will benefit a generation of Oklahoma students and will be felt in every community across this state". "Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students", she wrote.

"This package does not overcome the shortfall that has caused four-day weeks, overcrowded classrooms that deprive kids of the one-on-one attention they need", Priest said in the Facebook video. "It's not enough", she continued. We have an extraordinary amount of work ahead of us to continue to undo a historical under-investment in education, which preceded a decade of funding cuts to education and other social services.

During that time, Oklahoma's public school enrollment has grown by almost 9 percent.

The OEA, which has about 40,000 members, has said it is seeking a $10,000 pay increase over three years for teachers and a $5,000 raise for support personnel.

Teachers in the state began discussing a walkout as West Virginia teachers held a days-long strike earlier this month over low wages. That strike resulted in West Virginia lawmakers approving a 5 percent raise for public school teachers and state employees. "It's not enough", Priest said.

When adjusted for inflation, the center's report shows a almost 28 percent reduction over the past 10 years.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

"Luckily, I got the last of the Spanish teacher", Antuono said. Teachers in NY, the top-ranked state in terms of teacher pay, made $79,152 on average in 2016. "They may be saying 'thank you'".

Educators wore stickers reading: "I don't want to strike, but I will". "We must keep fighting for everything our students deserve".

Arizona ranks 43rd in the nation in teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association.

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