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Educators remain solid in resolve during day 7 of Oklahoma teacher walkout

Educators remain solid in resolve during day 7 of Oklahoma teacher walkout

State lawmakers have approved almost $450 million in new taxes and other revenues to help fund teachers' raise pay and boost other education spending since the walkout began on April 2, but the union is pushing for more action to raise overall spending by $600 million each year.

Teachers went on strike last week after lawmakers passed a funding package that offered only about $50 million for schools, where students have grappled with outdated, crumbling textbooks and shortened weeks, and many teachers have been forced to pay for school supplies out-of-pocket for years-even as they're paid some of the lowest education wages in the country.

Educators from across the state continue their siege on the State Capitol, demanding an increase in government funding for education and a bigger pay raise.

They say Governor Mary Fallin must use a veto to reinstate the motel tax the Senate just repealed and they want lawmakers to end some exemptions on capital gains taxes.

Now, the teachers union has laid out two new demands to end the walkout.

The Oklahoma Legislature typically does not meet on Fridays, but protesting teachers had packed the Capitol for five days, adding pressure for elected leaders to act. Scores of districts, including Oklahoma City, have announced that schools will also be closed at least through Tuesday because of the walkout. "Fighting the fight to get more funding", said Kristy Cooper, a Mid-Del teacher. "They were not looking forward to the walkout, but it's important".

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He called what is happening "revolutionary" saying he does not remember the last tme so many people came together in Oklahoma for one common cause.

The Oklahoma protesters join teachers from Kentucky, Arizona and other states who have been fighting for more pay, better education funding and improved working conditions.

The Legislature approved $2.9 billion for public schools, an increase of almost 20 percent over last year's spending.

One group of teacher walked the 100 miles from Tulsa to the capitol in Oklahoma City, to draw attention to their plight. But they were inspired to make a statement about the need to fund education properly.

While at some point, AFT said they planned to leave the Capitol, for now, they plan on continuing to fight for funding in an effort to bring schools up to modern, decent standards and to give children a bright future. Supporters of the bill said the changes are necessary to save the state's pension systems.

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