TULSA, Okla. — A statewide teacher walkout is ending after stretching into a second week, according to the Oklahoma Education Association.
OEA president Alicia Priest announced on Thursday, April 12, that they will end the walkout and are calling for a shift in focus to continue pressuring lawmakers to increase education funding.
Some schools resumed classes before the announces was made, but several large districts remained closed. Many will stay closed through April 14 and will resume classes beginning Monday or Tuesday. We will update out list as plans are announced.
So far, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a $447 million plan that will give teachers a raise. The Oklahoma Education Association said the bill is not enough to meet the needs of Oklahoma schools.
On Thursday the Oklahoma Education Association released a graphic that shows 95% of their education funding requests for Year 1 is secured. Their demands in regards to teacher pay and education funding in Year 2 and 3 are not met.
After nearly five days of the walkout, the state Senate approved House Bill 1019xx, the "Amazon bill"; House Bill 3375, "ball and dice" bill; and House Bill 1212xx, the repeal of the hotel-hotel Tax (HB 1212xx).
Fallin signed the bills into law Tuesday.
The Oklahoma Education Association said the bills further neglected students, and encouraged people to file paperwork to run for office.
Senators Nathan Dahm and Josh Brecheen hosted a press conference this week about their proposed changes to wind energy tax credits Monday.
WATCH: Oklahoma senators propose end to wind tax credits
Breechen said Oklahoma taxpayers pay $70 million in refundable tax credits to the wind industry.
Before Fallin signed the hotel-motel tax repeal, the Oklahoma Education Association put out a statement calling on her to veto it and for legislators to approve a bill “that closes the capital gains loophole.”
On Sunday, April 8, teachers and supporters rallied in Broken Arrow:
Later Sunday evening at the capitol, people gathered at a prayer vigil organized by Pastors for Oklahoma Kids. FOX23's Preston Jones was there for the vigil:
A former Owasso student who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers voiced his support for teachers as well.
Tuesday, teachers completed their 110-mile walk from Tulsa to the state capitol to join protesters there.
The Oklahoma Education Association announced in early March that it would organize a walkout if legislators did not agree to a satisfactory education funding plan by April 1. In addition to a $10,000 teacher pay raise, the organization is seeking a raise for support employees, $200 million in public school funding and $255 million in health funding during the next two years.
Both chambers of the Legislature passed a $447 million plan that was signed by Fallin on March 29. It included a tax on gas, diesel and tobacco and raised the gross production tax to 5 percent. It also included a $5 hotel-motel tax, but it was quickly repealed by house lawmakers and signed by the governor.
The repeal of the hotel-motel tax is expected to remove about $50 million in funding.
The Oklahoma Senate met in special session on Friday to consider HB 1019xx, the Marketplace Fairness Act or “Amazon bill,” as well as HB 1012xx. That bill passed and was sent to Fallin, who later signed it.
Fallin released a statement after the passage:
The Marketplace Fairness Act is estimated to generate approximately $20 million and when added to growth revenue in the state budget, more than makes up for the hotel-motel tax.
The Senate passed HB 3375, the “ball and dice” bill. Fallin also signed it.
On Wednesday, three days into the walkout, House lawmakers passed HB1019xx. The law will require third-party sellers on the internet, such as Amazon, to pay state sales taxes. The funds would allegedly help the state's education funding.
Lawmakers estimate the law would bring in $20 million each year. The senate approved the bill on Friday, and Fallin signed it Monday.
The Oklahoma Education Association said the plan signed by the governor is a “down payment on our children’s futures,” but they said that it didn’t meet the needs of students and educators. The package only raises about half the revenue of OEA’s proposal.
Many district leaders told FOX23 they plan to survey teachers daily to determine when schools will reopen.
WATCH: District leaders in Tulsa gave an update Monday
School officials explained how the walkout would affect Tulsa students.
Several area churches and organizations announced plans to offer child care for a limited number of students during the walkout. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club will offer free care at six Green Country locations.
Some school districts, including Tulsa and Broken Arrow, plan to offer meals to students who eat at specified lunch sites. Check with your child's district for additional information.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister hailed the senate's actions on Friday:
Oklahoma State School Boards Association executive director Shawn Hime:
Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks:
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Shulz, R-Altus:
FOX23 will follow the walkout for its duration. Sign up for newsletters for updates sent to your inbox and download the FOX23 News app for breaking news updates.
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