As educators across the state brace for a potential walkout, community members are making arrangements to provide care for displaced students.

As educators across the state brace for a potential walkout, community members are making arrangements to provide care for displaced students.

On Monday the state House passed funding to provide about $6,000 in teacher salary increases and the Senate passed the bill Wednesday evening, but the measure still has to go to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk. If an agreeable deal does not get all the way through this week, a statewide teacher strike has been threatened.

Oklahoma teachers have not had a raise since 2007.

Needing a three-fourths majority to pass, state representatives voted 79-21 in favor of the revenue package — the first to pass the House in 28 years.

The measure was heard in the Senate Wednesday night where they passed the package of tax hikes to generate hundreds of millions of new dollars for teacher pay — and to avert statewide school closures.

The bill would increase taxes on cigarettes, fuel, lodging and oil and gas production. It needed a three-fourth's majority to pass the Republican-controlled body — which it got, 36-10. The House and Senate now have both passed the plan designed to generate about $450 million for lawmakers to spend.

HB 1010xx provides $447 million in revenue by increasing the gross production to 5 percent on all wells, increasing the cigarette tax $1 per pack, and increasing the gas tax 3 cents and the diesel tax 6 cents.

The Senate also advanced HB 1011xx, which provides an additional $84.3 million for teacher pay by making changes to the state income tax code — with a revenue-raising measure to cap itemized income tax deductions.

After a furious, last-minute lobbying effort by the hospitality industry, House and Senate leaders agreed to pass a separate measure to remove the proposed $5-per-night lodging fee.

“The legislative process is about compromise and we saw that with the vote on HB 1010XX,” state Sen. Ron Sharp said. “For months, we’ve been fighting this battle to find revenue to fund a $5,000 teacher raise. This will be the first major pay raise for our educators in 29 years and as a retired teacher, I’m proud of my colleagues for their bipartisan support of this bill.”

He said no plan is perfect and this one definitely isn’t, but our teachers are well-deserving.

The bill now moves forward to secure Fallin's signature; she said she "absolutely" plans to sign it.

"We finally got the job done, and I applaud the bipartisanship of the House and Senate," Fallin said just moments after the Senate passed the bill.

“This budget package also helps set us on a path to long-term sustainability and stability by making more recurring revenue available and helps us to stop balancing our budget with one-time funds,” Fallin said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said nationally, Oklahoma will move from the basement to better than 19 other states.

“While this legislation is far from all that needs to be done to reverse years of education funding cuts, it is a tremendous step forward,” she said.

The battle may not be over. If teachers collectively decide they still aren't happy with the deal, they may still choose to leave their classrooms.

“The passage of HB1010xx is a truly historic moment in Oklahoma.

“This movement, fueled by the courageous acts of teachers, parents, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, custodians, and community members has forced this legislature to finally act.

OEA President Alicia Priest said the historic investment of half a billion dollars will benefit a generation of Oklahoma students and will be felt in every community across this state.

“While this is major progress, this investment alone will not undo a decade of neglect,” she said. “Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students.”

She added there is still work to do to get the legislature to invest more in the classrooms.

“That work will continue Monday when educators descend on the Capitol,” she said.

So, with the uncertainty of whether a teacher walkout is still on the table, some community organizations have been preparing for the possibility of many displaced students next week. To help parents provide care if a strike happens, these are some options:

Community Market

The Community Market of Pottawatomie County (CMPC) will be playing an active role in keeping students fed in the event of a teacher walkout next week.

CMPC announced it would be providing meals to several locations in the community that are offering childcare during the strike, including Immanuel Baptist Church (IBC), Mission Shawnee, the Shawnee YMCA, as well as handing out lunches at the Community Renewal Friendship House at Kickapoo Park and at Boy Scout Park from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day schools are closed.

“In addition, CMPC will waive all income requirements for any family with school-aged children affected by the walkout,” the post reads. “This means if your child/children are out of school due to the walkout, then you may shop at the market to provide meals for your family, regardless of income.”

Regular hours at the market are: Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Immanuel Baptist Church

From 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. April 2-6, IBC will host a free day camp for children pre-k through fifth grade. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. To register, visit

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Emmanuel Episcopal Church will open its doors for the first 75 children, kindergarten through fifth-grade, who need a place to go if schools are closed.

Lunch will be provided. Also, tutoring, STEM-based projects, music, arts and crafts, as well as other activities will be offered. For more information, visit or to register, call (405) 273-1374.

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club

In the event of a teacher walkout, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks will be provided. Space will be available for current and non-members. For more information call (405) 273-1470.


The Shawnee Family YMCA will accept students based on the number of volunteers they are able to secure during any school closures.

A free program will be available for students starting April 3 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Volunteers will need to fill out a background check form and attend a two-hour training from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 2.

For more information, call (405) 273-4386. Volunteers must be placed on the list by March 30 at 11 a.m.

Mad Tatter

Right before Spring Break The Mad Tatter distributed the dozens of meal boxes it recently received from the Regional Food Bank, and though the tattoo shop at 2304 N. Harrison has run out of them, it is on the lookout to continue helping the community.

Owner Isaac Bruno said residents can check The Mad Tatter's Facebook page for announcements.

“We are in a position to help others now, and that's what we like to do,” Bruno said.

Shawnee Public Schools

Shawnee Public Schools, in a Facebook post, encourage parents to visit the website for special bus routes and feeding locations (for breakfast and lunch) in the event of a walkout.

“Breakfast and lunch will be available outside the cafeteria doors from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.,” the post said. “Parental/guardian supervision is required at all feeding locations.”

McLoud Public Schools

McLoud Public Schools, in a Facebook post, stated the district plans to provide lunch at the Early Childhood Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Watch for updates.