Schools to close April 2-4

House Bill 1010 not enough

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Superintendent Jason Simeroth announced a district shutdown from April 2-4, in a prepared statement this morning.

He seemed to hold out some hope that enough teachers may return to schools sufficient to resume instruction after April 4.

“Beginning Wednesday April 4th, we will evaluate the situation on a daily basis and notify the public by 3:00 pm each day of the district’s plans for the following day. When we are able to staff our buildings at a level that will provide appropriate supervision for our students, we will resume daily operations,” he said in a prepared statement.

The announcement followed a meeting yesterday where teachers debated whether the funding bill that passed would be enough to keep them in the classroom.

“At this point in time, even with the new revenue, public education has still not recovered to the 2008 per pupil funding, while the student population has increased by 60,000 students,” Simeroth’s statement reads.

House Bill 1010 initially provided $447 million in teacher and public employee raises, but the Senate pulled out $50 million, a $5 hotel tax, before it was signed into law. The Oklahoma Education Association has demanded $906 million to avoid a teacher walkout.

His statement reflected a reaction among teachers across the state to the loss of funds in the bill.

“The sudden reversal of the revenue package has left a feeling of uncertainty among educators regarding the commitment to continue efforts to appropriately fund public education,” the statements reads.

The OEA announced they did not trust lawmakers to continue funding education.

“Stunts like these are why Oklahomans lack any trust or confidence in the state legislature,” OEA President Alicia Priest said. “The goal of Oklahoma educators has always been to avoid a walk out, because lawmakers continue breaking promises, even promises made less than 24 hours ago, we call on schools to remain closed on Monday so educators can send a clear message at the Capitol: Oklahoma educators won’t stand for these games any longer.”