Protesters continue to rally against state budget cuts, demand change at state capitol (KFOR)

By Ashley Kringen

OKLAHOMA – Its summer break for a lot of students but, instead of relaxing, some kids chose to stand up for their education at a rally.

Parents and students met at Douglass High School in northeast Oklahoma City Thursday and marched to the state capitol.

It was about a 2.5 mile walk, taking about an hour.

The protesters’ goal was to tell lawmakers it’s not too late to do something about education funding.

“Right now, we’ve fired teachers. We’ve shut down school classes,” said Kara Joy Mckee, Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Decked out in “red for publiced,” the protectors are demanding change.

“This is a disaster, and we can fix this if we choose wise revenue options,” Mckee said.

Its nonpartisan political movements like ‘Let’s Fix This’ and the Oklahoma Policy Institute standing up against the state’s billion dollar budget hole.

Even a 14-year-old is concerned.

“I think it’s crazy. In North Dakota, they’ve set away like $2 billion for something similar like this to happen and, in Oklahoma, we’ve only set away a fraction of that,” Mcquistion said.

He recently discovered his passion for debate.

“I decided to try it and absolutely loved it. Then, the budget crisis happened, and he got fired,” Mcquistion said.

He’s upset, just as many parents are.

“My son is super into art, so cutting those things, they don’t always have those opportunities,” said Ashli Cox.

The protesters have some lawmakers’ attention.

“We will have better results come out of this building if more people are engaged,” said Senator David Holt, District 30.

Holt voted in favor of the $6.8 billion state budget plan for fiscal year 2017.

He said there’s no easy solution.

“There is no room full of money that we can go open up. We have to make really tough choices, and we have people that come to this building as well that say ‘Don’t raise my taxes, don’t do this, don’t do that,'” Holt said.

“Any mom can balance a budget. We all do it, and we all can stretch a penny. They need to figure out how to do it like a mom would,” Cox said.

Now that the state budget plan passed the Senate, the bill goes to the House.

If the bill fails in the House, lawmakers go into special session.

The Legislative session is supposed to end Friday.

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