Geronimo Superintendent talks about keeping school open during walkout

GERONIMO, OK (KSWO) - As the April 2nd teacher walkout rapidly approaches, several area school districts have decided against canceling school for the protest.

Velma - Alma, Geronimo, Ryan and Fletcher are just a few of the schools whose teachers voted against going to the capitol, thanks to a $450 million tax bill signed by Governor Mary Fallin Thursday.

Geronimo Superintendent Bill Pascoe said the decision to not walk out was completely up to the teachers at Geronimo Public Schools. The Superintendent said he met with the majority of the teachers Thursday and came to a consensus that while it is not enough, the tax bill signed by Governor Fallin is a huge step in the right direction.

Pascoe said the school board fully supported the teacher's decision to walk out and until Thursday, he said they had every intention of canceling school and being at the capitol.

"Yesterday was pretty historical, we all know it was probably not 100-percent of what we wanted but it was a pretty big step in the right direction," Pascoe said.

Pascoe said despite their decision to still hold school, he knows there is still a long way to go.

"We all know at this point that we would like to see more done for public education but you can't undo in 1 year what's been done over the course of 10. We've gotten the door slammed in our face and it's been pretty rough the last few years. I think that's maybe given some animosity to the legislature but the fact of the matter is history has been made. There hasn't been a tax increase or revenue funding put together for this cause in 30 years," Pascoe said.

The Oklahoma Education Association has been asking for a pay raise of $10,000 per teacher, with $6,000 coming in year one and $2,000 coming in years two and three. The bill signed by Governor Fallin will provide, on average, a $6,000 raise for next year, but does not account for future raises. Pascoe said he believes that shows the legislature is supportive of a teacher pay raise and funding for education.

"We'll give them the chance to be supportive and follow up with another step next year or maybe possibly during this legislative session. We just as a group decided it was pretty positive," Pascoe said.

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