Teachers carried signs and marched during a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City on Monday calling for higher wages. Last week, the legislature in Oklahoma City voted to give teachers an average raise of $6,000 per year, or roughly 16 percent, depending on experience. Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, signed the package into law, but teachers said it was not enough. They have asked for a $10,000 raise as well as additional funding for schools and raises for support staff like bus drivers and custodians.
Oklahoma ranks 47th among states and the District of Columbia in public school revenue per student, nearly $3,000 below the national average, while its average teacher salary of $45,276 ranked 49th before the latest raise, according to the most recent statistics from the National Education Association.
Many Oklahoma schools, including those in the three largest districts — Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Edmond — were closed Monday to honor the teachers’ strike and walkout. Some schools are offering free meals to students ages 18 or younger, while various churches, faith organizations, and charitable agencies are providing free daycare services. Spring break was last week in many Oklahoma districts.(AP)