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Mon March 31, 2014
Oklahoma Teachers Rally At Capitol For Funding
Before the rally started outside, Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Robert Sommers stayed inside the building to say the administration supports the need for more cash in the classroom.
"Last year the governor signed into a law a budget that delivered over $120 million in new education funding, the bulk of which was for common education," Sommers says.
But after 30 years teaching, Shirley Watt from Duncan, says she lacks confidence in the state Capitol rhetoric claiming teachers and public schools are a priority.
"I feel like we've never been valued the way we have, and it's getting worse,” Watt says. “They give us less, and expect us to do more."
Inside on the first floor area of the Capitol, groups of people from different school districts discussed strategy and messaging about the need for more funding for public schools.
The Oklahoma Education Coalition, who organized the rally, says there are about 40,000 more students in the state this year than in 2008 - but that public schools are operating with $200 million less and 1,500 fewer educators. The group says state funding for public education has faced greater per pupil cuts than any other state.
Gov. Mary Fallin says she supports more funding for public education. She's proposed another $50 million funding increase.
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