Oklahoma Teacher Strike: Lt. Gov. Calls for Minimum Requirement for Classroom Funding
Oklahoma's public school teachers went on strike Monday, urging state lawmakers to allocate more money for classroom upgrades.
Public schools closed Monday across Oklahoma and Kentucky, as teachers walked out. The strikes come after a similar movement in West Virginia last month, which ended with teachers there winning a pay raise.
Oklahoma's teachers received a $6,100 annual pay raise, on average, in a new spending bill. But they argue the raise is insufficient and want a larger investment in the education system.
The state's teachers are among the lowest-paid in the nation and they accuse the Republican-controlled state legislature of failing to adequately fund public schools.
Teachers in the state have called attention to students' aging computers and textbooks, leaky roofs in school buildings, faulty heating systems and some districts moving to four-day school weeks to save money on electricity.
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) told Shannon Bream his wife is a teacher and he understands the complaints of the teachers. Lamb called for a requirement for at least 65 percent of education dollars to go to the classroom and to teacher pay.
He said the state budget process is "antiquated" and also in need of reform. Lamb said the current system allows a small group of legislators to decide the budget with just two weeks remaining in the legislative session before a vote is held.
"Last year, billions of dollars were allowed out the door in special giveaways," he pointed out.
But Lamb said he also doesn't want to see tax increases, which could force job losses elsewhere.
Watch the interview above.