Oklahoma teachers share reasons for walking out despite new tax

OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma governer Mary Fallin signed the first tax increase in the state since 1990 on Thursday, a $447 million law that will fund teacher salaries. Each teacher will get a raise of about $6000. Oklahoma was previously ranked 49th in the county for teacher pay.

"We definitely want to acknowledge what a historic event has occurred and express some gratitude to the 75 percent of legislature coming together," said high school math teacher Chuck Pack.

The tax package will increase the tax on oil and gas production, cigarettes, hotel and motels, and fuel, something truck driver Doug McKouen said he's a little worried about.

"They gotta figure out where to come up with the money," McKouen said, "But I hope it doesn't affect me as a truck driver."

Some KXII viewers wrote on Facebook that the raise should be enough, but teachers like high school teacher Chuck Pack said they're not done yet.

"We'll say, you haven't done enough for our support employees and the 28 percent you've cut funding over the years," Pack said. "You're not going to write that in one bill. We have got to do something to put more money in our classrooms."

McAlester English Language Arts teacher Margie McElhany said she feels forced to walk out to make sure her students have necessary supplies.

"In our building alone, the chairs are falling apart, the plastic is breaking off of them. We have classrooms that have ceiling tiles missing from rain," McElhany said. "Every time it rains heavy, we have classrooms that flood, and peeling paint, along with tiles missing."

Both teachers said they're passionate because they believe in their students.

"We have no choice, we need to do this for the students," McElhany said.

"The Oklahoma standard is higher than this," Pack agreed.

Here is a link to every school in Texoma affected by teacher walkouts.


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