Day 2: Local teachers continue fight for funding

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) – Crowds of southwest Oklahoma teachers again gathered at the state capitol Tuesday for the state-wide teacher walkout.

Eisenhower High School Teacher Jennifer Mason was one of the thousands of teachers on hand for day two of the walkout. She said she's fighting for more funding so she can finally quit her second job waiting tables at Olive Garden.

"I still need my second job to survive. I'm tired. My kids know that on Fridays, Mrs. Mason worked a shift at Olive Garden and she's going to be tired. It's sad for them. I worked with students I've taught, they're waitresses, and I encourage them right now to not go into education," Mason said.
From Lawton to Duncan and Elgin, nearly every school from southwest Oklahoma was represented at the capitol Tuesday. Several teachers from Altus High School waited in line for more than two and a half hours with hopes of personally sending a message to our legislators.

"They need to see the support. They need to see that we're not satisfied with just getting a minimal raise for our teachers. It wasn't ever about that. We're here because we expect these legislators to do the right thing and the bottom line is this is the right thing to do," said Altus High School Teacher James LeGrand.

Many of the teachers 7NEWS spoke with Tuesday echoed the same thoughts of those I spoke with Monday, that the walkout is not just about teacher pay raises. It's about funding education for the students and keeping Oklahoma teachers right here in Oklahoma.

"I don't want to leave Oklahoma. This is my home. I know I can make 20k more in Arkansas, I taught in Texas and I make less money here but this is my home. This is where I'm from," said Elgin teacher Sarah Keith.

After two days of protests, no changes have been made, but the teachers I spoke with say they will remain resilient.

"I think we need to keep coming here until we get definitive answers in writing, so they can't renege like they did last week and start taking funding away. This is more than teacher pay raises. This is for our children. Our children's future. My sister lives in Florida and she came up with a slogan, Oklahoma doesn't want to be known as the hicks from the sticks. We want to educate our children," said Freedom Elementary School teacher Peggy Bilbrey.

The majority of the teachers 7NEWS spoke with said they plan on being at the capitol again on Wednesday.

Copyright 2018 KSWO. All rights reserved.