Local teachers participate in rally at Oklahoma State Capitol

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LONE GROVE, OK -- Thousands of teachers and parents from across Oklahoma converged on the state capitol Monday calling for more education funding and hundreds of those teachers were from right here in Texoma.

Lone Grove Schools is just one of the districts that locked its doors so more than 100 of its teachers and administrators could join 25,000 others at the capitol to make sure their message to state lawmakers is heard loud and clear.

"We had very minimum 25,000 teachers from the State of Oklahoma that gathered at the capitol today. I do believe our message was heard," Meri Jane Miller, Lone Grove Intermediate Principal, said.

Their message, to restore state funding to education.

"I believe our message was we're just tired of being 49th in the nation in funding for our students," Melissa Ferguson, Assistant Principal said.

"Budgets have been cut by nearly $200 million dollars in the last four to five years and we're educating 35,000 more students with less money," Michael Cathey, a teacher at Lone Grove High School, said.

"We are down $250 dollars per student since 2009 statewide," Miller said.

With less funding, Lone Grove Intermediate Principal Meri Jayne Miller says teachers are not able to provide students proper tutoring to pass mandatory state tests.

"Their are a lot of ways to educate children and we do not want to have the one size fits all technique," Miller said.

Some lawmakers, like Representative Mike Turner, argue that more money to education is not necessary.

"We can put as much money as we want in the hopper, but we'll keep getting the same results. We need to look at where that money is spent," Turner said.

However, Miller says added funding would equal different results like higher test scores and less students being held back a grade.

"It would help us to pay for reading specialists, or to find people that had intensive training on helping to identify the needs of our kids," Miller said.

Oklahoma educators are also calling for increased pay.

"It is really hard for us to find teachers. No one wants to go into education, which increases our class sizes and makes it really difficult for our teachers to teach," Elementary Principal Tonya Finnerty said.

Madill schools also closed today for the rally which was sponsored by the Oklahoma Education Coalition.