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Morning Bell: Walkout enters second week

Teachers rally at the state Capitol on Friday. Photo by Ben Felder.
Teachers rally at the state Capitol on Friday. Photo by Ben Felder.

Good Monday morning. It's the start of a new week and teachers are expected back at the Capitol today for the continuation of a statewide walkout. 

Last week saw some funding measures pass the Legislature, but on Friday, the Oklahoma Education Association outlined the its two requirements for the walkout to end. 

Eliminate the capital gains tax deduction and a governor veto of a bill repealing a hotel/motel tax. However, it's unknown how much of the revenue generated from those measures would have to go to public education

When it comes to the capital gains deduction, House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said it's not going to happen. But he told teachers to expect some movement on taxing wind energy as a way to funnel more money to schools. 

“There will be bills in committee on either Monday or Tuesday … on wind that will bring money, probably some of it dedicated to public education,” Echols said.

The walkout's impact

While the Capitol rattled this week with the sounds of chants, impassioned speeches, school bands and helicopters hovering above, the teacher walkout sent a shock wave across the state, promising to alter public education throughout Oklahoma in a variety of ways.

In my Sunday story, I looked at some of the possible implications the walkout might have on student achievement, both in the short term and long term. 

I'll be at the Capitol early Monday morning with continuous updates on Twitter and NewsOK. You can also find coverage from a student rally in the morning, along with live video updates. 

Dark money group funding pro-teacher ads

A group that spent nearly $7 million promoting a failed state question on school funding is now financing ads urging people to tell Oklahoma legislators “to give our kids the schools they deserve.”

Oklahoma's Children Our Future has purchased time on broadcast stations around the state for an ad reciting a litany of public school woes, including crowded classrooms, low teacher pay, four-day school weeks and funding cuts.

The business of a teacher walkout

As thousands converged to advocate for education funding, businesses in the area capitalized on the momentum by offering discounts to teachers, facilitating donations and serving the masses. With many school districts already canceling classes Monday, the most impressive displays of support might be yet to come.

An area pizza shop told The Oklahoman's David Dishman that the company has made and delivered about 240 pizzas purchased by those wishing to donate the pies to the teachers.

OKCPS offering SAT on Tuesday, even if walkout continues

Oklahoma City Public Schools officials said Saturday that in the event of a continued teacher walkout they will open high schools Tuesday for students to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The district will offer bus transportation, except for Classen School of Advanced Studies, with all school routes scheduled to run at their regular pick-up times and delivery at the schools from 7 to 7:15 a.m.

The schools will serve breakfast and lunch for juniors taking the test. Students are required to arrive no later than 7:50 a.m.

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Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›