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Okla. teachers to lawmakers: Raise pay by April 1 or we shut schools

March 07. 2018 9:03PM

The largest union for teachers in Oklahoma gave lawmakers in the cash-strapped state an April 1 deadline to approve pay raises for some of the lowest-paid educators in the country or face a shutdown of public schools, its president said on Wednesday.

The move came a day after teachers in West Virginia ended a nine-day strike that closed schools statewide, with officials approving a 5 percent pay raise for all state workers.

Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said the union was putting Oklahoma lawmakers on notice that they needed to pass an education budget by April 1 that contained significant pay hikes.

According to National Education Association estimates for 2016, Oklahoma ranked 48th, followed by Mississippi at 49 and South Dakota at 50, in terms of average U.S. classroom teacher salary.

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