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Special to the Chronicle
Shortly after teachers threatened to strike over pay and school funding, state GOP and Democratic legislature leaders have tossed criticism across the aisle, some of the most anti-tax lawmakers have not shown a willingness to budge and the governor said teachers need to be realistic about what can get done this year.
“The teachers also have to recognize that there has been an effort to give them a pay raise, to give them more money,” Gov. Mary Fallin told reporters during a visit to Durant. “So, they have to be realistic in what can really be done, especially when we’ve gone through five years with an economic downturn of the energy sector.”
The Oklahoma Education Association is demanding $800 million in new spending on public schools, health care, state employee pay and a $10,000 teacher pay raise.
Oklahoma ranks last in the nation in average teacher pay, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Oklahoma Education Association, which is the state’s largest union, has threatened a teacher walkout on April 2 if the funding demands aren’t met.
State Rep. Jeff Coody (Rep., Granfield), who was one of 35 State House members to vote against a tax increase proposal in February that included a $5,000 teacher pay raise, said the threat of a strike hasn’t swayed him or other lawmakers.
“I don’t believe that a walkout is going to magically generate a solution, it may do quite the contrary,” State Rep. Coody said...To Read More...subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper