Schools shut in Oklahoma amid teacher protest

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Thousands of teachers and education supporters are marching in Oklahoma City, and schools all over the state are closed ahead of a rally at the state Capitol for more education funding. The protest is similar to one taking place in Kentucky, where angry teachers have gathered at the Capitol in Frankfort to protest changes to their pension plan.

The Monday walkout and protest in Oklahoma come just days after Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation increasing taxes to provide teachers with raises in Oklahoma, where teachers are among the lowest paid in the U.S.

But teachers and their supporters say more funding is needed, and they’re using the walkout to press lawmakers for additional funding. Rally organizers say it’s unclear how long the walkout will last.

Among the schools closed Monday are the state’s three largest school districts, in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond.

Fallin signed legislation last week increasing taxes on cigarettes, fuel and oil and gas production to provide teachers with raises of about $6,100, or 15 to 18 percent.