Hundreds of teachers rally at Capitol for Step Up Oklahoma Plan

Hundreds of teachers rally at Capitol for Step Up Oklahoma Plan
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) - Ahead of a state budget vote, educators and civic leaders from across the state teamed up to show their support for the Step Up Oklahoma Plan at the capitol today.

Step Up Oklahoma is a plan designed to give teachers a $5,000 salary increase. Hundreds of those teachers rallied at the State Capitol this morning. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, along with former OU Head football coach, Oklahoma State University President and education leaders from across the state expressed their opinions and concerns.

"So here's my message for today our kids can't wait any longer," said Hofmeister.

"The Step Up proposal provides Oklahoma literally a lifeline. It ensures that no body bares too much of the burden and so we need to put to greater good of our State ahead of personal partisans or special interest," said President of Oklahoma State University Burns Hargis.

Teachers from across the state packed the Rotunda at the State Capitol wearing their Step Up Oklahoma shirts, and showing their support through posters and signs.

President of the Oklahoma Education Association Alicia Priest said today wouldn't be possible without the support of a nonpartisan group of Oklahoma business, civic and community leaders who formed  the plan this year.

"We are so appreciative of all the work they've put into the step up coalition and the step up plan to get that revenue raising for our teachers to have a raise. We need this for the future of our state," said Priest.

Megan Veldhuizen is a grant coordinator for Lawton Public Schools and says a $5,000 increase would help with retention and recruiting new teachers.

"I think its really going to help us in our district because right now its that time frame our teachers staying or our they leaving Oklahoma," said Veldhuizen.

State Superintendent  Joy Hofmeister fears more teachers will leave for better paying jobs in Texas or other states if the plan fails.

"Our future depends on fixing this crisis. The teacher shortage is known throughout the state and throughout this country and it is shameful," said Hofmeister.

"When you look at what Texas is paying compared to what we our paying $5,000 helps, but it is not enough," said Hargis.

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