Oklahoma lawmakers mull new taxes to end teacher strike
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/06/18, 11:40 am
Oklahoma lawmakers returned to the state Capitol for a rare Friday session to consider two bills designed to end a weeklong teachers strike over education funding. One bill would impose a tax on some internet sales, while the other would expand tribal gambling to include games with a ball or dice. Both measures could raise as much as $40 million in new revenue. But David Duvall, executive director of the Oklahoma Education Association, said he didn’t think that would be enough to entice teachers back to their classrooms. Three of the state’s largest districts closed for the fifth day in a row Friday because so many teachers called in sick to attend the rally at the Capitol. Several weeks ago, Gov. Mary Falin signed legislation giving teachers raises between 16 percent and 18 percent, their first increases in decades. But the teachers decided to strike anyway, uring lawmakers to allocate more money for education resources. The Oklahoma strike follows a walkout in West Virginia that prompted lawmakers to give teachers a 5 percent raise. Teachers in Kentucky and Arizona also are pushing their state legislators for better pay and pension funding.
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Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.