On March 12th, the OTPS Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution that sent a clear message they are committed to supporting our teachers - up to cancelling classes if teachers believe it is absolutely necessary to walkout to advocate for fair funding for public education and educator pay.
Oklahomans have also made it clear that we must address this critical issue. The time is NOW for our legislators to act and we hope they do the right thing by working toward a resolution to this issue without any interruption to the remainder of the school year. We support our teachers in this because our state has cut the funding we need to serve our children by over 28% in the last decade, far more than any other state in the nation. OUR STUDENTS DESERVE BETTER!
At this time, our teachers, have communicated their intention to walkout on April 2nd and subsequent days until the legislature finds a solution. Because of this, OTPS will suspend classes each day the teachers walk out, and we want you to have time to prepare.
With 1,800 students and families across more than 180 square miles, planning to care for our students and their families during the indefinite cancellation of classes is a massive undertaking.
Although our buildings will be closed to students during a walkout, OTPS is working to address needs for our career-tech students, seniors preparing to graduate, Athletics, special events, and many other issues. We are also working with local community partners and faith based organizations to connect you with other services and resources such as childcare during the walkout. The good news is that our community is embracing our students to give teachers time to advocate.
You may also be wondering what the plan is to make up these potential days off. The OTPS calendar includes an additional 7 days over the legally required instructional time. OTPS has used one of those days already for inclement weather. Therefore, students can miss an additional 6 days before additional instructional days must be made up. Missed instruction beyond this will be made up either by increasing the minutes of future instructional days, or by adding additional days at the end of the current instructional calendar.
OTPS will be updating this page frequently as the State of Oklahoma and OTPS move through this difficult situation. We are doing our best and working hard because we are committed to supporting our teachers so they can point their focus on advocacy. As Board Members have stated, “Teachers have reiterated that their goal is not a teacher walkout; their goal is adequate funding for public education and a teacher pay increase. They are not walking out on OTPS or our students; they are walking out FOR our students. The OTPS Board of Education and district leadership remain committed to supporting our teachers until lawmakers find a solution.”
This situation is still taking shape, and we still have more questions than answers, but we felt it was important to communicate what we already know. We will continue to update you as we learn more. We appreciate your understanding, cooperation and continued support of OTPS.