Poteau Schools Closed Monday For Teacher Walkout

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It was the first tax increase in the state since 1990.

However, News 4 has learned plans are in the works to remove the hotel/motel tax from the package.

A House floor amendment, HB1012XX, filed Wednesday afternoon would repeal sections of the revenue package relating to the hotel/motel tax.

The Senate was also scheduled to take up the funding measure, caps on itemized deductions and the teacher pay scale.

Teachers in Oklahoma are planning to hold a state-wide walkout on Monday, saying a pay raise passed by the state isn't enough. It's a significant investment in economic development because an educated workforce is essential to growing and expanding our economy.

The Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union that represents almost 40,000 members and school personnel, called the passage of the bill "a truly historic moment", but one that remains "incomplete", according to its president, Alicia Priest.

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During her four years at Lone Grove High School, Anna Antuono has never seen a new textbook, most of her teachers paid for their own classroom supplies and the school lost its only Spanish teacher.

Oklahoma teachers have confirmed they are still due to walk out of the classroom next Monday despite the state Senate voting last night on an emergency package to give them a pay raise.

"The bill was a giant step in the right direction and for that, we are thankful". I am grateful for the strong bipartisan support on behalf of Oklahoma's schoolkids.

Oklahoma ranks 47th in the nation in public school revenue per student, almost $3,000 below the national average, while its average teacher salary of $45,276 ranks 49th, according to the most recent statistics from the National Education Association. While this legislation is far from all that needs to be done to reverse years of education funding cuts, it is a tremendous step forward.

Page administrator Alberto Morejo reported to the group that school districts representing 70 percent of the student population in Oklahoma have confirmed that they will be participating in the teacher strike starting on April 2. "This vote is a bright light for public education in Oklahoma".

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest accused both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature of taking actions Thursday to "derail almost $75 million in revenue necessary to fund House Bill 1010xx". Teachers have been wearing red shirts every Wednesday and encouraging supporters to do the same, according to the Arizona Education Association, which has 20,000 members who are teachers, counselors, bus drivers and retired educators.

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