Oklahoma schools to close for third day due to teachers' strike

Oklahoma schools to close for third day due to teachers' strike
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Public schools in Oklahoma will close for a third consecutive day on Wednesday as teachers across the state demand a pay raise and more funding for schools and supplies.

A tweet from the Oklahoma City Public Schools system — the largest in the state — on Tuesday stated that while union officials and state lawmakers were working to reach a deal, schools would be closed Wednesday due to the anticipation of staff shortages.

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"Classes are cancelled again tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. We are hopeful that our legislators will continue working this afternoon toward a solution, but we wanted to make this decision as early as possible to give our families adequate time to plan," the message from state officials reads.

Teachers across the state are demanding a $10,000 pay raise and a $5,000 raise for other school officials, as well as increased funding for school supplies such as textbooks.

More than 36,000 people rallied at the state capital on Monday in support of teachers, who are paid on average the 48th lowest in the nation at $42,460 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The GOP-held state legislature passed a pay raise for teachers in a revenue package last week, but teachers said the proposed plan was not enough. GOP leaders say other areas of state government also suffer from lack of funds.

"We must be responsible not to neglect other areas of need in the state such as corrections and health and human services as we continue to consider additional education funding measures," said Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

The strike in Oklahoma comes shortly after a nine-day teachers' strike in West Virginia that saw educators win a 5 percent pay raise and improvements to the state employee's health insurance program.