Capitol protesters urge lawmakers to reject budget, better fund schools (KOCO)

By Crystal Price

OKLAHOMA CITY —More than 100 parents, students, and educators marched from Douglass High School to the state Capitol on Thursday morning.

The group urged lawmakers to scrap the proposed budget and come up with a better plan to fund schools.

Families from all over the state met at Douglass High School on Thursday to begin the walk.

After making posters and saying a quick prayer, the group began its journey on Northeast 8th Street toward the Capitol.

“The budget the Senate passed yesterday is one that shifts the burden of cuts from public education to higher education, and these are institutions that go hand in hand,” said Kara Joy McKee, an outreach and advocacy specialist for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

In addition to cuts to higher education, parents said the proposal does not call for additional funding for common education.

Anna King said the school that her niece attends has cut almost a dozen teachers and an assistant principal this year.

“I made a poster that says, ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,’” King said. “Our legislators need to know that they need to put our kids first.”

Paula Lewis, OKCPS board member for District 4, said that even though the state budget proposal doesn’t call for any more cuts to common education, it’s unknown if the more than 200 teaching positions that have been cut will be saved.

“I haven’t seen anything come through our district that says we’ve got some more money back,” Lewis said. “As far as I know, we’re still at a $30 million loss in the city of Oklahoma City.”

After the walk, the group met in the rotunda and held a rally inside the Capitol.

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