Mar 14, 2017 11:22 AM EDT
Education Advocates Urge Lawmakers To Fund Education First [VIDEO]
Education advocates along with parents, students and educators met with state lawmakers and have demanded them to follow a 2003 law that requires the legislature to fund education first. The Oklahoma legislature has 18 days to pass an education budget. Stand for Children Oklahoma Executive Director Amber England said that schools need specific budget details to be able to make critical decisions that affect student learning.
Amber England further stresses that students and teachers deserve to be a priority in the budget process. Without the information, school districts can't develop or plan out their own budgets for the school year. They wouldn't know if they would have to lay off more teachers, have to end AP courses in high school or have to end arts and PE.
President of the Oklahoma Education Association, Alicia Priest, said teachers wait for funds for the next year and students wonder if they will get to take the classes that they have signed up for. School districts have to hire their teachers by the first Monday of June. As they wait there's
ABC 7 News reported, co-founder of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids and NorthHaven Church Reverend Dr. Mitch Randall said that providing an adequate education to children is the Oklahoma legislature's moral responsibility. Underfunding is neglect of the legislators to follow the law, and that they need to demonstrate accountability and transparency to Oklahoma taxpayers.
According to the 2003 law, the legislature has to have an education budget plan by April 1st. The lawmakers have only reached the deadline once and there are no consequences if they break the law. They have roughly $900 million budget hole to fill.
Education advocates believe that if the lawmakers really try, they can have the education budget by April 1st. England said that she knew the legislators had a meeting about the budget.
News On 6 reported that Rep. John Paul Jordan, R-District 43, said that the April deadline is probably not going to be feasible. In addition, lawmakers are taking much of the week off for spring break.
Join the Conversation