Educators meet with lawmakers about educational funding

(Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawmakers were put on the hot seat as educators sought answers on how the Legislation would show it cares about Oklahoma's teachers and their students.

"We've been trusted to do our job," one teacher asked. "Why can't we trust you all to do yours?"

Teachers and school officials filled the Eisenhower High School library Thursday night, meeting to speak with the five Oklahoma legislators who came down to Lawton for the forum.

Many of the questions had to do with the long-sought and much-discussed pay raise for teachers – while other teachers were more concerned with general education funding.

Senator Randy Bass said the Legislation was considering a number of solutions.

"We need to work on the budget and quit writing these silly bills and focus on education, cause our education system right now is horrible for what they pay you," he said.

Meanwhile, Representatives Jeff Coody and Scooter Park believe legislators are close to getting some sort of teacher pay raise.

Representative Rande Worthen said it was good to hear from educators who they might not normally hear from – adding that he's been in support of a teacher pay raise, and hopes a teacher walkout doesn't happen.

"It's not beneficial for the students, it's not beneficial for really anybody," he said. "Parents are going to have trouble and I just hope that it doesn't happen. We're trying to press on and work toward getting the teacher pay raise."

Representative John Montgomery said having forum's like Thursday's helps them do their job better and improve the lives of children. He said the biggest challenge lawmakers face is the budget, because they have to have the available funding.

But when all was said and done, Eisenhower High School teacher Lori Siltman felt she didn't hear any real answers.

"I hope that by the turnout that we had this evening that they can see how serious we are and how important it is to show the parents, the teachers, the students how Oklahoma feels about education," she said. "What are they going to do about it to make it prime and not be so embarrassing to the rest of the United States?"

Siltman said she knows that some lawmakers are really trying and she wants to see them work together more to find a solution.

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