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Showdowns over teacher pay and school funding continue in 3 states

Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky continue to press lawmakers for better pay and conditions, while Arizona's educator...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 3:04 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 3:04 PM

Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky continue to press lawmakers for better pay and conditions, while Arizona's educators begin weighing a walkout.

Oklahoma's teacher walkout extended into its ninth day Thursday -- the same number of days that West Virginia teachers were on strike last month before Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill giving them a 5% pay raise.

Some school districts such as Tulsa's and Oklahoma City Public Schools remain closed Thursday, while others moved to welcome students back into the classroom.

Moore Public Schools were to resume classes Thursday, according to CNN affiliate KFOR. In a letter to parents and teachers, the district said classes would start again because students needed to get back to class, and it wasn't clear lawmakers would accept educators' demands.

Teachers have converged on the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, pressuring lawmakers to give schools more funding. On Tuesday, teachers from Tulsa completed a 110-mile march to the Capitol, where they rallied together and gave speeches on the front steps.

Like their colleagues across the state, the teachers weren't satisfied by the recent passage of a bill that gave some additional funding to schools. Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation that provided $50 million in funding, increased teachers' salaries and gave pay raises to support staff.

But it's not enough, the teachers say. They want at least $150 million more to replace old textbooks and fund elective courses, on top of higher raises.

These Oklahoma teachers work up to 6 jobs

Some of the teachers have decided to take matters into their own hands -- and run for office.

Dozens of people showed up at 8 a.m. Wednesday to file paperwork and register their candidacies. These included teachers who either wanted to fight for school funding from inside the Legislature, pursue other reforms for Oklahoma's children or give their students a lesson in democracy.

Kentucky teachers prepare to butt heads with state Legislature ...

Teachers in Kentucky are gearing up for a showdown with state lawmakers Friday, days after Gov. Matt Bevin signed a pension reform bill that the teachers' group, the Kentucky Education Association, strongly opposes.

As a result of the pension reform, new hires will have to enter a hybrid cash-balance plan as opposed to a traditional pension. It also limits new sick days teachers can put toward their retirement.

The teachers' group sent out a message asking "each school district or citizen that can legally be in Frankfort, to be there" on Friday. Members will pressure lawmakers to override the governor's vetoes of a budget bill and a revenue bill, both of which are crucial to public education funding, according to Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler.

While the group admits the bills aren't perfect, teachers must be "united to help protect public education funds at all costs."

At least one school district, Trimble County Public Schools, has announced it will close schools to allow educators and school personnel to travel to Frankfort. And that number is growing, according to CNN affiliate WLKY, as more school districts cancel Friday classes.

... while Arizona educators get ready to walk out

On Wednesday, Arizona teachers held "walk-ins" before the start of classes, calling for higher salaries. Teachers gathered outside schools, wearing red shirts and carrying signs before walking in to teach their first classes of the day.

It wasn't clear how many schools participated in the rallies, but the Arizona Educators United coalition had said it hoped teachers at 1,000 schools would take part.

The group has spent weeks calling for the state Legislature to mandate 20% pay raises for teachers in the next school year and wants school funding to return to where it was in 2008. It's also calling for smaller class sizes -- a 23:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

Arizona Educators United organized Wednesday's rallies, which were just the latest escalation in recent weeks for educators and their allies to voice their frustration.

It started with the group encouraging teachers to wear red to school on Wednesdays, using the hashtag #RedforED in social media posts. But now the group is sending signals that walkouts could be just around the corner.

Arizona Educators United leader Derek Harris said Monday the group was preparing to call for a long-term walkout, according to CNN affiliate KVOA.

"Do not wait anymore," Harris said, according to the Tucson station. "The time is coming, we need to make this happen and that (means) you've got to get things in place."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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