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Morning Bell: TEACHER WALKOUT - DAY 10

Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Good morning. Today marks 10 days since Oklahoma teachers began a walkout and rally at the state Capitol. 

For many of the thousands of teachers who have gathered at the Capitol since April 2, the daily rally has been a show of support for public education that can be uplifting in a profession that can often feel isolating.

Some teachers are losing optimism about securing further increases in education funding this year.

"My heart wants to be encouraged, but I am a little pessimistic," said Mary Means, a special education teacher from Luther High School. "We'd be willing to come out here as many days as it takes, but some of our school systems are calling us back."

You can read my story from yesterday's rally here

Here is a photo gallery from yesterday's rally. 

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the repeal of a hotel/motel tax, rejecting one of the demands made by teachers.

The Oklahoma Education Association wanted Fallin to veto House Bill 1012xx as one of their goals for ending the teacher walkout. Teachers also demanded that lawmakers adopt a bill languishing in the House that would eliminate Oklahoma's tax deduction on capital gains. Both Fallin and House GOP leadership rejected the idea Tuesday.

GOP candidates ripped for position on teacher strike

A national Democratic organization ripped some Republican candidates for Oklahoma governor on Tuesday, saying they would be worse than Gov. Mary Fallin on education, reports The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel

“Todd Lamb, Kevin Stitt, and Gary Richardson would continue to let Oklahoma's schools deteriorate," said Jared Leopold, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.

"Oklahoma's students and teachers deserve a governor who will support them, not someone who will be even worse on education than Mary Fallin.”

The comments came a day after a candidate forum aired on Oklahoma City's KOKC radio in which five of the Republican gubernatorial hopefuls were asked whether they would have signed the revenue and pay raise package for teachers that became law two weeks ago.

Candidate filing begins today

Filing for state office begins Wednesday. With thousands of teachers at the state Capitol who have expressed frustration with lawmakers, we could see a dash of people sign up to run. 

Is another teachers caucus on the way?

More than 30 current or former teachers ran for state House and Senate seats in 2016 on platforms of higher teacher pay and education funding.

The filing period for this year's elections is from Wednesday through Friday.

Mounds teacher under investigation

A male Mounds High School teacher is under investigation for reported inappropriate contact with a female student, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The Mounds Police Department requested OSBI agents investigate the case March 30 after the school superintendent told police March 29, according to a news release.

Related Photos
Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e5a673a71d75d1d03fd5230cefc33d1c.jpg" alt="Photo - Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman" title="Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Edmond Memorial teacher Christine Custred speaks with Rep. Jason Lowe outside the Capitol during the ninth day of a walkout by Oklahoma teachers at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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