Oklahoma City - The Oklahoma State Senate Republican caucus today called upon the Democrat Senate leadership and the President Pro Tempore's office to schedule Saturday, February 12, 2000, as a legislative session work day for the Oklahoma Senate. "Many of Oklahoma's teachers would like the opportunity to present their views on the current status of funding for common education in Oklahoma and the impact of the current pay structure for their profession. We, in the Republican caucus, believe we should do everything possible to make sure their voices are heard," Republican Floor Leader, Senator Mark Snyder (Edmond) stated.
The Oklahoma Education Association, the state's largest teacher organization, is planning a rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 16, at 11 a.m. "Our members believe that if the rally proceeds school districts will have difficulty having enough teachers in the classroom on the 16th. It is our goal to have session on Saturday, which our rules allow, so that the best people in the front of their classroom, the regular teacher, will serve the children of our state. Some school districts already have to declare a so-called snow day to completely shut down the district. This Saturday session will allow all teachers and staff to attend and not disrupt the school week," Assistant Floor Leader, Senator James Williamson (Tulsa) concluded.
"I, along with the rest of the Republican caucus, am truly dedicated to making teachers' salaries a top priority of this legislative session. The Democrat leadership should make this move to Saturday so that the teachers can make their point and not burden the school patrons with a mid-week, unplanned loss of a school day for their children," Republican Caucus Chairman, Senator Jim Dunlap (Bartlesville) commented.
"If education funding and teacher salaries are truly a top priority of the Democrats, it is time to get to work in a special way. A Saturday session will show we are serious and also looking out for the teachers and most importantly, their students and Oklahoma's future," Republican Whip, Senator Carol Martin (Comanche) concluded.