FAQ about Sapulpa Public Schools teacher walkout

FAQ about Sapulpa Public Schools teacher walkout
Posted on 04/10/2018
UPDATE (4/11): Sapulpa Public Schools will be in session Thursday, April 12. Read more here.

SAPULPA PUBLIC SCHOOLS - This page will hopefully answer some of your questions regarding the teacher walkout since April 2.

The teachers received a pay raise so why are they not in school? Correct, the teachers did receive an average pay raise of approximately $6,100, depending on tenure. That raise will go into effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year - July 1, 2018. However, the bills that Governor Mary Fallin signed into law in late March did not allocate much funding for public education outside of the teacher and support staff raises. Teachers walked out to push the state legislature for more state funding to help restore the funds that have been cut time and again over the past decade.

How long will the walkout last? We don't have the answer to that, unfortunately. The Oklahoma state legislature has a list of the requests from the Oklahoma Education Association that could bring the walkout to an end.

Where can I see the OEA's requests? Click this link.

What are the goals Sapulpa teachers are trying to accomplish? These are the items our teachers are focusing on:

1. Defeating the School Bond bill
2. Defeating or amending SB1015, the School Health Care Bill
3. Governor Fallin's signature on HB1019xx and HB3375, Amazon third-party vendor and ball and dice games bills, respectively
4. Defeating state question proposal to bring all tax revenue raises to a vote of the people
5. Discussion on Capital Gains Tax and adding the agriculture exemption
6. Discussion with the legislature about wind tax
7. Amending the lodging tax to remove the flat $5 tax on all hotel/motel rooms and instead levy a percentage tax per room.

How does the School Board and Sapulpa Administration feel about the walkout? The teachers have the full support of both. If you were unable to attend the board meeting on April 9, you missed an informative discussion between the board and the teachers' representative. Near the end of the meeting the board members stood, thanked the teachers, and gave them a round of applause. 

Is the district paying the expense of the buses the teachers are using to travel to and from Oklahoma City for the rallies? No. The money being spent comes from funds set aside by the United Sapulpa Educators executive committee, private donations, and donations from teachers using the buses. The drivers are volunteer teachers who are licensed to drive a bus or district employees who are being compensated by the teachers' union.

Are Sapulpa's support personnel being paid during the walkout? Yes. Our contracts are spread out over a 12-month calendar. That means for those employees who are working on 9-month contracts, they receive a paycheck every month. There is a period of time that if the walkout extends into, some employees would not be paid. However, any time missed due to the walkout will be made up, which means those employees would be able to make up for lost wages. Which leads us to your next question.

How will the missed days of the walkout be made up? State law requires us to fulfill 180 days or 1,080 hours of instruction each school year. Not hitting that threshold sets us up to lose some state funding, so it is imperative the time missed is recouped in order for us to receive those funds. We will add days to the end of the instructional calendar.

When is the last day of school? That is yet to be determined. We will let you know as soon as we make that decision.

Why are you deciding to call off school daily instead of multiple days like some other districts? We actually called off school for multiple days at the beginning of the walkout. We announced the first three days followed by the announcement of the last two days of that same week. However, as the walkout continues, and as we have done from the very beginning, we are in constant communication with our union leadership to discuss the progress made each day in Oklahoma City as well as understand the intentions of all of our teachers and support staff. We do that by asking them to respond to a survey about the following day which asks them if they are participating in the walkout or returning to class.

We must evaluate the situation daily as there may be developments that could swing the pendulum from one side to the other that could change our position. We understand it isn't ideal for parents, but we do sincerely appreciate your patience, understanding, and support during this time.

How will we be alerted when school is back in session? We will call you, send you an email, and send you a text message. We will also post it on our website on this page, our Facebook page, and our Twitter page

What about state testing that was supposed to begin April 3rd? The State Department of Education announced April 9, that it was extending the testing window one week. That gives a little more breathing room to get the testing done. Our hope is the students will have a couple of days of instruction before taking the tests. 

You may continue to access our Resources page on our website. This page has some answers to questions about feeding locations, childcare, school activities and more.

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