The Norman Transcript

Homepage

March 29, 2014

Thousands expected at education rally

OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 25,000 parents, students and educators are expected to converge on the Oklahoma Capitol on Monday to rally for more money for public education.

Organizers hope to persuade legislators to reverse years of cuts to the state’s schools, said Linda Hampton, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, one of the rally’s sponsors.

Many districts are giving teachers leave — on a school day — to attend. If the turnout is as high as expected, Monday’s rally would be the largest at the Capitol in nearly two decades.

“I’m just so proud,” Hampton said. “They’re willing to give up a day of their time to speak on behalf of Oklahoma’s children. I think that speaks volumes of how much they value Oklahoma’s (youth.)”

Hampton said Oklahoma schools have tens of thousands more students, but are operating with fewer teachers and millions of dollars less in their budgets.

State appropriations for the schools has dropped from just over $2 billion in fiscal year 2009 to about $1.8 billion this year, according to the state Department of Education. In the meantime, enrollment in Oklahoma schools has increased from about 654,000 to about 681,000 during the same period.

Funding per pupil has fallen from $3,275 to $3,032, according to the state.

“We can’t expect everything from public education and only pay for little pieces here and there of it,” Hampton said.

Jeffery Corbett, president of the Oklahoma PTA and a Stillwater resident, said he’s not surprised that so many people will attend the rally.

“They understand our education system is at a point where we need to see a change,” he said.

But educators won’t be the only group lobbying legislators Monday.

Dave Bond, CEO of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, said his bipartisan organization will also be at the Capitol on Monday to ensure “a well-rounded conversation about how we can have the best schools in America.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
New and Developing

Headlines

Sports
Opinion

Features

Must Read

Big 12 Media Days
Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Business

Photos


Facebook