OEA President: ‘As classes resume, we must turn our attention towards November’
Ponca City Now - April 12, 2018 4:55 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY — The President of Oklahoma’s largest teachers union calls for end to strike; says the focus should shift to midterm election.
The following statement can be attributed to Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest:
“Education has been cut more in Oklahoma than in any other state in the country. For years, the Oklahoma Legislature refused to do what’s right for our students. Because of the members of the Oklahoma Education Association and the overwhelming support of the public, we were able to secure $479 million in education funding for next school year. The legislature, however, has fallen well short of its responsibility to Oklahoma’s students.
“Despite tens of thousands of people filling the Capitol and spilling out over the grounds for nine days, we have seen no significant legislative movement since last Friday. OEA leadership has been negotiating in good faith with the House and the Senate, but Senate Republicans won’t budge an inch on any more revenue for public education. They say they don’t believe Oklahoma students need more funding. They’re wrong. Lawmakers are simply refusing to cross the finish line.
OEA members secure millions in education funding for Oklahoma students
“We recognize that our formal efforts to lobby elected leaders have achieved all that we will be able to accomplish this legislative session. OEA is a member-driven, representative organization, and while we are shifting our focus and efforts, we are supporting educators who decide to continue the walkout or those who decide to return to their classrooms. We want every school district to continue sending lobby teams to the Capitol. Education-related bills remain to be heard and there are still possible revenue measures we can support.
“As classes resume, we must turn our attention towards the election season. Instead of making our case at the steps of the Capitol, we have the opportunity to make our voices heard at the ballot box. The state didn’t find itself in this school funding crisis overnight. We got here by electing the wrong people to office. No more. A record number of candidates have filed for office, including OEA members who will be the best advocates for our students in the Oklahoma Legislature. This fight is not over just because the school bell rings once more and our members walk back into schools. We have created a movement and there’s no stopping us now.”
Ponca City Public Schools teachers are being surveyed and will announce their response after their votes are counted about 6 p.m.