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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: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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