Local teachers rally ahead of walkout

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Local teachers took to the streets on Friday to voice their demands. A group that calls itself Southwest Oklahoma Teachers Unite rallied for teacher pay raises and education funding.

"It's not a victory," said Ashlee Leighow, teacher. "It's not a celebration. We are fighting for our students, each and every one of them.

Leighow was one of 25 teachers at the rally. She said their demands surpass the 61-hundred-dollar pay raise that state lawmakers passed yesterday.

"The state department sends down all of these mandates that we are supposed to do but they give us no funding for that," said Leighow. "Or they give the funding and it's immediately cut, or we are told to figure it out on our own. We have no textbooks were told to get stuff online."

Another teacher, Joan Cole, said they're also working with limited supplies.

"I'm a 25-year veteran, 24 years in the public schools and I have spent numerous dollars and I see my peers continuing to do that and it needs to stop," she said."

She believes the funding they're demanding would provide a better learning environment and meet the needs of their students.

"We need more money for education," said Cole. "It's not all about the pay raises. it's about money for our kids so we can supply what we need for them in the classroom."

"Our kids they deserve better," said Leighow. "They are our next generation, they are the future of Oklahoma and we just need to fight for them."

The group also plans to head to state capitol on Monday to participate in the walkout.

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