Oklahoma teachers, supporters continue second week of walkout

NE 36th St. in the final leg of a 110 mile trip from Tulsa to the state Capitol as protests continue over school funding in Oklahoma City

Sue Ogrocki AP

Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature said it may be hard to find more money after approving almost $450 million in new taxes and other revenues since the walkout began on April 2 to help fund pay raises for teachers and boost spending.

Officials said Hoffman took a group of students, including the victim, to the Capitol to participate in the teacher walkout.

Nguyen pets Milo a therapy dog who is a staple in her music classroom in Norman Okla. as protests continue over school funding
Sue Ogrocki AP

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigators said a Clinton Public Schools teacher has been accused of having sex with one of her students. The work-stoppages in Oklahoma and Kentucky were the second phase of rebellion by educators this year, after West Virginia teachers ended a nine-day strike almost a month ago.

In the past few weeks, lawmakers approved almost $450 million in new taxes and revenue to help fund teachers' pay and education, but that is still short of the $600 million being sought by teachers.

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Lawmakers also had blocked a union request to approve a bill to remove a capital gains tax exemption that educators said could bring an extra $100 million to state coffers. If the bill is enacted, the union has said it would be a major step toward ending the strike.

The walkout comes after the West Virginia teachers' strike catalyzed a movement of teachers demanding higher pay.

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They did this because the $1.5 trillion budget limit did not allow them enough money to cut all the taxes they wanted to cut. The GOP tax law will boost economic growth by an average of 0.7 percent over the next decade and create 1.1 million jobs.

In April, lawmakers raised salaries for teachers by an average of $6,100, increased pay for support staff by $1,250, and added $50 million in funding for schools.

Opponents of the tax rises say lawmakers could bolster education spending by cutting bureaucracy and waste rather than raising taxes.

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Teachers want a $10,000 raise over three years. The minimum salary for a first-year teacher is now $31,600, state data shows.

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