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Teacher highlights Oklahoma's disconnect between prison funding and education funding

Glenda Cottrell's sign highlights the disparity in education funding. (Wilson/KTUL)

With horns blaring, the messages at the Capitol were loud and clear on day three of the teacher walkout.

There was a life-sized skeleton holding a "Still waiting for funding" sign, Santa's implied threat of coal in stockings and even 13-year-old Jordan Carter from Bartlesville, whom we first met on Monday, was back again with his "I hope" sign.

"I plan to keep going until they actually do something about this," Carter said.

No one's sign, however, spoke as powerfully or quietly as the one held by teacher Glenda Cottrell. "It came to me this morning, and I have to do this," she said.

Fifteen months ago today, her husband Doug was killed on his way to work.

"A man who was high on meth, marijuana and amphetamines crossed the center line and hit him head-on and killed him," Cottrell said.

Other signs also highlighted how state spending on prisoners is roughly double that of students.

"If I can somehow reach somebody that it's ridiculous that we pay that much to keep people in prison when you can't even educate people," she said.

Meanwhile, there was movement on the issue under the dome Wednesday.

"There seems to be movement when people are present," said Representative Regina Goodwin, and some of that movement was from a school district offering a compromise.

"I don't know. Will it rock the apple cart? I'm sure it will," said Heather Davis of Bartlesville, saying they'll go back to school if lawmakers agree to $100 million in education funding.

"This is our end game; this is the finish line," Davis said.

The push for change is still strong on day three of the walkout.

"I saw a fellow teacher, and she cried and I said I didn't want that to happen, but if it makes you think, then, it's served its purpose," said Cottrell.


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