Oklahoma Teachers Headed To Texas Amid Fight Over Pay

Steven Pickering
April 03, 2018 - 6:07 pm
 Hilda Martinez, a kindergarten teacher in Oklahoma City, rallies on the second day of the Oklahoma teachers walkout, at the capitol in Oklahoma City.

David Wallace/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

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OKLAHOMA (KRLD) - Teachers in Oklahoma walked out of class for the second day in a row today.

They're staging protests calling for improved funding for education in their state, including better pay for teachers and support staff. 

Thousands of teachers filled the Oklahoma State Capitol on Tuesday to send a message to lawmakers. Last week, the legislature approved a measure giving teachers a pay raise averaging $6,100. 

"They pushed a bill through last week which did give us a raise, but it did not meet our demands," said Muskogee school librarian Gina Batie. "They did not fully fund support personnel, and they only allocated $50 million of the $200 million we're asking for...for our students".

Some teachers in Oklahoma are apparently fed up with waiting for changes in their state and have moved south to Texas. "We're calling it 'the great Texodus.' It's so bad that our Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year last year (Shawn Sheehan)...moved to Texas this year," Batie said.

That influx of experienced teachers could benefit school districts in North Texas. "Not only would we welcome them, we recruit them all the time," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He's not surprised that teachers would pursue better pay.

"With the Dallas ISD's Teacher Excellence Initiative program, we have an opportunity to make real money," Mayor Rawlings said. "If they're great performers, they need to make great money like our other professionals."