Oklahoma Teachers End Strike, Raises in Hand


OKLAHOMA-Oklahoma's largest teachers union on Thursday called off a almost two-week walkout that shut public schools statewide, saying it had secured historic gains in education funding after school budgets were devastated by a decade of cuts.

Kentucky's budget director says lawmakers could introduce new revenue and spending bills after the governor rejected previous bills and angered teachers, many of whom have gathered at the Capitol to call for more education spending.

Pennsylvania PTA board member, Bonnie Fagan, whose son graduated from a Millcreek high school past year, said she felt "sad and disappointed" that teachers were being handed bats. Priest lauded the passage of two bills last Friday that raised $40 million in additional revenue for schools.

The Oklahoma teachers union is ending its nine-day walkout. "Student learning at schools affected by the strike has been halted for almost two weeks at a critical time in the academic year when federal and state testing requirements need to be completed". "We are proud of what we have accomplished, but truthfully there's no one left to negotiate with in the statehouse", Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, said.

"We got here by electing the wrong people to office", Ms. Priest said. They might even call themselves the ironic 1 percenters, since that's how much Gov. Ducey initially offered.

The teacher walkout began April 2, the Monday after Fallin signed the first statewide tax increase in almost 30 years.

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"Just because the Capitol is not filled with 30,000 teachers does not mean this fight is over", said Cindy Gaete, who she cried when she saw thousands of protesters at the state capitol in Oklahoma City on Tuesday after she marched more than 100 miles from Tulsa in protest. The $450 million tax package increased taxes on cigarettes, fuel and oil and gas production and aimed to give teachers a roughly $6,100 raise, as well as raises for school support staff and state employees. The charges stemming from the high school fight club include four counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, as well as a charge for "breach of peace".

The union says it made a decision to end the walkout after polling its members.

She said teachers in her district feel strongly that they should keep walking. Other districts sent delegations but kept classes open.

"The OEA doesn't get to decide when I'm finished", said middle school choir teacher Renee Jerden, who said she was inspired by the walkout to run for Senate.

During the discussion this reporter said that the most powerful action of the West Virginia teachers was when they defied the back-to-work order of the unions, and that Oklahoma teachers should do the same.