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Oklahoma Education Budget Crisis Growing - Walk-out Could Happen - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma Education Budget Crisis Growing - Walk-out Could Happen Next Month

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     Teachers across Oklahoma could *walk-out* next month if their pay demands aren't met.
It's something no school district ever wants to happen.
Kaci Hoffer, 3rd Generation Miami Teacher: "The goal is not to have a walkout, our goal is for legislatures to pass a bill that will provide education with the funds that they need."
The OEA starting the conference telling legislatures they must have a budget that includes a six thousand dollar raise for educators with an additional $10,000 over the next three years by the budget deadline of April 1st, or come Monday the 2nd, there will be no school.
Jeremy Hogan, Miami Superintendent: "You know, it's very tough, this is the 9th year in a row we've had a reduction to our funding, our state funding, and with that we've lost multiple positions, multiple supports for our teachers, for our students, and so it's been building, it's been accumulating to this point."
Miami has already cut $700,000 from their budget, which Superintendent Hogan tells us was mostly staff positions.
Hogan: "I'm kinda surprised it didn't happen earlier, but we're at that point where enough's enough, and it's time for legislature to step up and fund us, or a walk out is going to happen."
In his 20 months as superintendent, they've also lost 31 teachers to other states.
Now, enter Kaci Hoffer, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Wilson Elementary - she's a *third* generation Miami schools teacher, her family, educating kids since 1961.
Hoffer: "I was born and raised in Miami, and these are...these are my people, and I want what's best for my community, and my community is me staying...and teaching these kids." 
She's been teaching for eight years and never thought she'd see times like these.
Hoffer: "Teachers are going to do what they have to do, that's...a trait of all teachers...so we make do with what we have."
     Jeremy Hogan adds...if the walk-out happens...he could be given the authority to cancel school for "lack of supervision".
     That will be decided during Monday's school board meeting.
 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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