P. 6

A6   U.S. NEWS
                   Thursday 5 april 2018

            As Oklahoma teachers strike drags on, frustration mounts

                                                                                                                                straight days seeking more
                                                                                                                                money for the classrooms.
                                                                                                                                That  has  proved  frustrat-
                                                                                                                                ing  for  some  GOP  lead-
                                                                                                                                ers,  especially  those  who
                                                                                                                                broke with party orthodoxy
                                                                                                                                to  raise  taxes  to  pay  for
                                                                                                                                teacher raises.
                                                                                                                                Republican Gov. Mary Fal-
                                                                                                                                lin  on  Wednesday  called
                                                                                                                                on  the  teachers  to  return
                                                                                                                                to classrooms. In one inter-
                                                                                                                                view  Tuesday,  she  likened
                                                                                                                                striking teachers to "a teen-
                                                                                                                                age kid that wants a better
                                                                                                                                "That was kind of a slap in
                                                                                                                                the face," said Donita Go-
                                                                                                                                forth,  an  elementary  art
                                                                                                                                teacher from Grove, Okla-
                                                                                                                                homa,  who  drove  three-
                                                                                                                                and-a-half hours to rally at
                                                                                                                                the Capitol on Wednesday.
                                                                                                                                Rep.  Earl  Sears,  a  Republi-
                                                                                                                                can from Bartlesville and a
                                                                                                                                retired  school  administra-
                                                                                                                                tor, said he voted for the tax
                                                                                                                                hike and supports teachers'
            Teachers from Apollo elementary school in the Putnam City school district of Oklahoma City, wave signs at passing cars outside the   efforts,  but  acknowledged
            state Capitol as protests over school funding continue for the third day in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
                                                                                                               Associated Press   they  run  the  risk  of  losing
                                                                                                                                public  support  the  longer
                                                                                                                                that schools remain closed.
            By SEAN MURPHY               a  tough  question  as  the  she's  standing  behind  the  Even  within  the  teachers'  "I  think  there  were  some
            Associated Press             walkout  threatens  to  keep  teachers.                   own  ranks,  there  are  divi-  members  who  felt  if  we
            OKLAHOMA  CITY  (AP)  —  many schools closed for the  "It's been a hassle, that's for  sions.                       passed  this,  everything  will
            When  Oklahoma  Republi-     rest of the week — do they  sure,"  said  Hardwick,  who  Ginger  Tinney,  the  execu-  be fine and everybody will
            cans finally passed a mas-   risk losing public support for  said she may have to take  tive  director  of  the  Profes-  move  on,"  Sears  said,  "but
            sive  tax  hike  for  hundreds  their efforts, especially after  a day off work without pay.  sional Oklahoma Educators  it's really kind of unlocked a
            of millions of new dollars for  lawmakers  handed  them  "But if it's going to better my  which  represents  about  lot of emotions."
            public schools and teacher  much  of  what  they  asked  child's future ... I think I can  12,000  teachers,  said  she  Teachers  now  are  push-
            pay  raises,  they  thought  for?                         handle missing a few days  believes    public   support  ing lawmakers to pass sev-
            they  would  get  a  thank  "There's  always  that  con-  of work."                    for  teachers  will  wane  if  eral  more  revenue  raising
            you.                         cern,  but  our  parents  are  Still,  some  question  why  schools remain closed.     measures,  including  one
            Instead,  educators  and  just as frustrated as we are,"  teachers  are  continuing  "Our  students  need  their  that eliminates the income
            their  supporters  marched  said  Amy  Radtke,  a  high-  to  stay  off  the  job  after  teachers,"  Tinney  said.  "I  tax  deduction  for  capital
            on the Capitol.              school  science  teacher  lawmakers  approved  new  think  the  public  is  with  us,  gains that would generate
            They brought pent-up with  from  Norman,  a  college  money for schools and rais-      but it could erode the lon-  about  $120  million  annual-
            them frustration after years  town  about  20  miles  south  es.                       ger it goes."                ly. Another to expand trib-
            of  budget  cuts,  swelling  of the Capitol in Oklahoma  Preston Leehan, a construc-   Many teachers already are  al  gaming  would  bring  in
            class  sizes  and  a  decade  City,  where  schools  will  re-  tion worker who was survey-  back at work, especially in  about $20 million, but both
            without a raise.             main closed for the rest of  ing gas lines Wednesday in  rural  communities  where  of  those  measures  face
            Their  protests,  and  some  the week.                    Oklahoma  City,  said  the  local boards didn't vote to  broad GOP opposition.
            school closures, will contin-  Ashleigh Hardwick, a single  $6,000-per-year  raise  that  shut down.                It's still not clear if the pas-
            ue for a fourth straight day  mom  whose  daughter  at-   teachers  received  sounds  Still,  schools  in  the  state's  sage  of  those  measures,
            Thursday  amid  a  move-     tends  elementary  school  like a pretty good deal for  largest districts remain shut-  or  another  to  require  cer-
            ment  in  red  states  from  in  Norman,  said  she's  had  a public-sector employee.  tered, including Oklahoma  tain  online  vendors  to  pay
            West  Virginia  to  Kentucky  to rely on friends and fam-  "I  don't  know  of  police  or  City, Tulsa and many subur-  sales  tax,  will  be  enough
            to Arizona to press for more  ily  to  watch  her  daughter  firefighters  who  strike  af-  ban communities.       to  placate  teachers  and
            money in classrooms.         while  she  works  at  a  local  ter  they  get  a  $6,000  pay  Thousands  have  thronged  get  them  to  return  to  the
            Now  these  teachers  face  florist  shop,  but  that  so  far  raise," Leehan said.   the   Capitol   for   three  classroom.q
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11