This past Monday night, the Oklahoma House of Representative passed House Bill 1010 and raised taxes for the first time in 28 years.
Much of the revenue will go to fund Oklahoma’s schools and raise teacher salaries by an average of $6,000 a year. On Wednesday night, with the threat of a mass teacher walkout looming over their heads, Oklahoma’s senate ratified the bill and put it on the desk of Governor Mary Fallin who, in a joyous press conference, said there would be a “signing party” on Thursday.
The bill was supposed to avert the teacher walkout that has been in the works since this past September when teachers in Bartlesville, Oklahoma began seriously thinking about drastic action to increase funding to an education system that has seen drastic cuts in per-pupil funding and a ten year freeze on teacher salaries.
That movement kicked into full gear after the West Virginia teacher strike in late February and early March — tens of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma began planning for a work stoppage.
After Fallin declared victory in the Capitol, leaders from Oklahoma’s teachers unions began releasing statements saying the bill, which met teacher demands about halfway, had not gone far enough.
VICE News was with a group of educators in Bartlesville as they heard the news from the Capitol.
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