STANDING UP FOR EDUCATION: Broken Arrow teachers and supporters were visible throughout the striking days in April for better pay and overall funding to education. This photo was taken near the intersection of Kenosha Avenue and 129th east Avenue.
The Broken Arrow City Council hold a special meeting recently to discuss a resolution to support Oklahoma’s public school teachers and urge the state legislature to pass a teacher pay increase with ongoing funding.
Council members view the state’s teachers, especially those who directly affect the children of Broken Arrow – Broken Arrow, Union and Bixby Public Schools – as one of the most important work forces in Oklahoma.
“While I highly encourage the legislature to do its job, I want to show that Broken Arrow supports teachers and their march on our Capitol until their goal is achieved,” said Councilor Mike Lester, whose wife taught at Union for 38 years.
The resolution stresses that any pay increase and additional public school funding needs to be funded by a long-term, ongoing source.
“A one-time pay raise or a raise with no long-term funding source would be detrimental to what teachers and school districts are fighting for,” said Councilor Johnnie Parks, who has been an Oklahoma CareerTech instructor since 1995. “A short-term solution would only emphasize to teachers and the public the legislature’s unwillingness to increase support for public education.”
Another point the resolution brings up is that strong, well-funded public schools are vital to the economic success of the state.
“I know personally the positive impact employees in public schools have on the state and local economy. Likewise, companies want to locate where they know the workforce is well educated and where their workers’ families will receive an outstanding education,” said City Manager Michael Spurgeon. “Failure by the legislature to address funding on a long-term basis for public education would be a serious detriment to attracting businesses to our community, let alone the entire state of Oklahoma.”