In a unanimous vote, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution Monday supporting the possibility of a teacher walkout over state education funding.
Board members and parents expressed concern about new plans underway to expand the number of split-grade classrooms from the current 18 to 57 next year. (Watch for our upcoming story on this issue.)
The district received the fifteenth “clean” yearly financial audit in a row.
After the executive session, the board voted to approve the 2018 teacher contract retroactively and making some adjustments.
At the same time, they approved the teacher contract for the 2018-2019 school year, a rare occurrence for OKCPS
The district typically stalls in talks with the teacher’s union and begins school years still negotiating the teacher contract.
The board also voted to give acting superintendent Rebecca Kaye a $5,000 per month stipend over her agreed-upon salary.
The stipend moves her salary up to $170,000 through the end of the fiscal year at the end of June. It is less than former superintendent Aurora Lora’s salary resulting in savings for the district.
In a prepared statement, Board Chair Paula Lewis said the board had “made the right decision in appointing Rebecca Kaye as Acting Superintendent….”
Support for walkout
Acknowledging the dire situation of teachers and education in Oklahoma, the board’s resolution reads:
Be it resolved that the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education is in full support of our teachers and stands ready to take any steps necessary to improve conditions for our teachers – including a districtwide suspension of classes.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education urges the Oklahoma State Legislature to work urgently on behalf of the children and families in our state to take swift and meaningful action to develop a viable plan to pay teachers the professional salaries they deserve.
In a short news conference between the regular session and the executive session, Acting Superintendent Rebecca Kaye said such an action would create a “hardship” for some parents who have jobs where they cannot get off to watch their children out of school.
But, she also said the district would do all they could to make sure children are fed and their safety ensured.
After the board meeting Jean Bostwick, chief financial officer for the district, said that she was “thrilled” at the “clean” audit report which reflects good financial management practices of the district.
“I have a great team,” Bostwick said.