The Oklahoma Senate is set to debate a tax hike package on Friday to raise education funds in the hope of halting a week-long strike by its public school teachers, who are some of the lowest-paid educators in the country.
The strike that started on Monday has affected more than half a million students. It comes after a successful West Virginia strike last month ended with a pay raise and as teachers in other states angry over stagnating wages are considering walk-outs.
The Oklahoma package includes a $20 million internet sales approved by the House on Wednesday, a hotel tax hike expected to generate about another $50 million and a gambling measure that could bring in about another $22 million.
Tens of thousands of teachers have come to the state capitol this week seeking fresh spending for an education system that has seen inflation-adjusted general funding per student drop by 28.2 percent between 2008 and 2018, the biggest reduction of any state, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.