Governor Fallin on teacher rally: 'We are only able to do what our budget allows'

Governor Mary Fallin signs three pieces of legislation granting teacher pay raises and tax increases to fund them. (KOKH/Anthony West)

Oklahoma's governor said she appreciated teachers for rallying at the Capitol in support of more education funding but alluded that the state can only do so much.

Thousands rallied at the State Capitol April 2 as teachers walked out of class to demand more education funding and pay raises. Governor Mary Fallin was not at the Capitol Monday, but stated she appreciated the rally.

"I appreciate teachers coming to the Capitol today to talk with their elected officials. During the past three years, I have called for an increase in teacher salaries." Gov. Fallin said. "I was very proud to join with leaders of both parties to sign the largest teacher pay increase in Oklahoma’s history."

The legislation gives teachers a $6,000 pay raise. The Oklahoma Education Association continued calls for a walkout as they asked for significant funding for the bills and additional raises for support staff.

“Just like Oklahoma families, we are only able to do what our budget allows. Significant revenue-raising measures were approved to make this pay raise and additional school funding possible. We must be responsible not to neglect other areas of need in the state such as corrections and health and human services as we continue to consider additional education funding measures." Gov. Fallin said. "I look forward to continuing to talk with legislative leaders and teachers as we forge a positive pathway forward for education.”

Several Oklahoma school districts have cancelled classes for Tuesday as teachers plan to trek back to the State Capitol.

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