OKLAHOMA CITY —
Local educators will travel to the State Capitol on Monday to rally for increased education funding.
Empire is the only school district in Stephens County that will close to allow its teachers and staff to attend the rally.
Duncan schools will not close classrooms, but Superintendent Sherry Labyer said Duncan will have about 50 teachers, parents and community members at the rally.
Labyer said the need for schools have increased since funding cuts began in 2008.
More than 25,000 educators, parents and public education supporters are expected to attend the rally to persuade legislators to reverse cuts to public education.
“I think that the important thing is to increase funding to public education,” Labyer said. “We’re still not at the level we were in 2008. We have 44,000 more students in Oklahoma than in 2008, and the needs are greater for students across the state.”
Teachers from Duncan are taking personal days or finding volunteer substitutes to teach their classes in their absences. Labyer said no school transportation is being used, and the teachers will not be reimbursed for mileage. The school district will not expend funds for the trip to the Capitol.
“We opted not to take students because we wanted them to stay in their classrooms,” Labyer said.
Empire Superintendent Vicki Davison said she want the rally is “about making sure the legislature knows we support our kids. We have been so passive so far.”
She said it’s important to have the voices of public education heard. The rally will provide that platform for public education.
“You can’t just save for a rainy day, like the Rainy Day Fund,” Davison said. “You’ve got to take care of the necessities. They’ve got to take care of these kids.”