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Craig Hoxie, an Army veteran and a father of two, still teaches physics at Booker T.Washington High School, in Tulsa, though hundreds of teachers have left Oklahoma for other states, in search of better pay.Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, compared the teachers to “a teen-age kid that wants a better car.” The day the teachers arrived from Tulsa, Fallin signed a bill repealing the hotel-motel tax that had helped fund their pay raise.
The Democrats, along with the teachers, argued that the bill was far from sufficient, since it included little additional funding for students or schools.
In response to the threat of a walkout, the Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature offered teachers a pay raise of around six thousand dollars a year.
It funded the raise with an assortment of tax bills, most of which disproportionately affect the poor—a cigarette tax, a diesel tax, an Amazon sales tax, an expansion of ball and dice gambling, and a five-dollar-per-room hotel-motel tax.
“An interfaith alliance was feeding us dinner each evening.
High schools opened their gymnasiums for us to sleep in, pulling out their wrestling mats.” The Tulsa superintendent, Deborah Gist, walked with them.