Oklahoma teachers carried their walkout over school funding and higher pay into a ninth day on Tuesday as a union leader declared educators had the advantage in a battle with the Republican-dominated state legislature.
Republican lawmakers said they have made major moves to boost education spending, but it may be difficult to find more money. They have approved nearly $450 million in new taxes and other revenues to help fund teachers’ pay raises and boost other education spending since the walkout began on April 2.
This week they 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.
A nonpartisan poll released last Friday, however, showed 72 percent of responding adult voters in the state supported the walkout.
“Momentum is on our side,” said Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s biggest teachers union.