LPS will be closed for 7th day today
Lawton Public Schools will be closed for the seventh day today as part of the ongoing work stoppage.
As the walkout continues into the mid-point of its second week, it shows no signs of ending soon. Teachers continue to make arrangements and travel to the State Capitol each day to demonstrate for the need for additional funding for education.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed two bills into law that will raise additional revenue, while signing a third that will eliminate a new hotel and motel tax that would have generated around $50 million, which was included in the initial package for increased education funding. House Bill 1012XX repealed a $5 tax on hotel and motel rooms with the funds originally designated to go to education. Fallin also signed HB 3375, which allows tribal casinos to use traditional roulette and dice games specifically prohibited since a 2004 vote of the people and HB 1019XX, which will require third-party online retailers, including those storefronts used to sell through Amazon, to collect sales tax. Both funding bills are estimated to replace the revenue that would have been generated by the hotel and motel tax.
The governor said the funding package wouldn't have been possible without the promise of a repeal of the tax.
Oklahoma-AFT President Mary Best and Oklahoma City President Ed Allen issued the following statement in response to the governor's veto:
"We are disappointed but not surprised that Gov. Fallin vetoed the hotel/motel-tax bill that would have yielded additional funding for public schools. Over the last two weeks in this fight for Oklahoma's teachers, we've made clear that pitting teachers against kids is a losing strategy. We will keep fighting to make sure there's funding for both, because it's what our teachers need, and what our kids deserve.
"In the meantime, we encourage the state Legislature to consider quickly the wind production and capital gains tax bills as potential revenue streams: Oklahoma needs an increase in public education funding on top of teacher raises. And we need it soon, so we can get back to the classroom.
"Make no mistake: Our teachers want to be in school teaching. But they'll remain in the capital until these legislators make good on their duty to fund our state's schools."
"The revenue package that funded the teacher pay raises would not have passed the Senate with the required supermajority, or support, had a bipartisan agreement not been struck to repeal the hotel/motel tax," Fallin said.