The Latest: Oklahoma teacher strike to extend a 7th day
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on Oklahoma’s teacher walkout (all times local):
Oklahoma’s two largest school districts say they are canceling classes for the seventh consecutive day as a walkout by teachers demanding more funding for public education continues.
Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, and Tulsa Public Schools said Monday they will remain closed on Tuesday, extending the second week of the statewide teacher walkout.
Many Oklahoma school districts have been shuttered since April 2 when thousands of teachers traveled to the state Capitol demanding that lawmakers appropriate more tax dollars for classroom needs.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last month granting teacher pay hikes of about $6,100 and providing tens of millions of new dollars for public schools. But many educators say classrooms still need more money.
Educators have not said when their walkout will end.
Oklahoma’s education department is extending the time period for students to take standardized tests as the state’s teacher walkout enters its second week.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced Monday that the testing window will be extended by one week for grades 3 through 8 general assessments and grade 11 science assessments.
The testing period began April 2, but tens of thousands of students have been out of class since then because of the teacher walkout that began the same day.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says she hopes the extension will prevent any penalties or loss of funding from the federal government, which mandates that 95 percent of students take the tests.
Oklahoma lawmakers are slated to return to the state Capitol amid a second week of massive teacher demonstrations for more classroom money.
Leaders of Oklahoma’s largest teacher’s union said protests would continue Monday unless lawmakers approve a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and the governor vetoes a repeal of a proposed lodging tax.
The $5-per-night lodging tax would generate about $50 million annually. It’s faced opposition from chambers of commerce and the hospitality industry. Axing the capital gains tax deduction would generate about $120 million annually.
The Senate Friday sent Gov. Mary Fallin two bills projected to generate $40 million more annually for education by expanding tribal gambling and taxing certain internet sales. Teachers said that wasn’t enough.
Fallin already approved raising teacher pay by about $6,100.