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February 16th - Letter From Granger Meador

posted Feb 18, 2018, 7:52 PM by Bartlesville Teacher
BEA Members,
 
The time for action has arrived.  We need your help and support.  Please read the email below from former BEA chief negotiator, Granger Meador.  We are extremely fortunate to have an administration that is supportive and ready to act.  Invite your non-BEA member colleagues.  We need to PACK the board room on Monday night.
 
 
Colleagues:
 
You rose to the occasion on Monday and fought for us at the capitol. I am asking you to lead once again. I need you to show up on Monday night at the school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. I need you there for public comment and to stay through the legislative update to show support to our board and the news media for shutting down schools across the state, probably next week, to prevent yet another school funding cut ($22 million cut to schools has passed joint committee and goes to the floor next week; Bartlesville would be cut about $110,000). We must force the legislature to compromise and fully fund the agencies while providing teachers with a $5,000 pay raise and no dirty tricks like cutting retirement or health benefits. If we quit now, all is lost.
 
Chuck will be sharing with the board during the update the results of a survey he has sent to all 6A, 5A, 4A, and 3A superintendents to gauge how many and their boards are also ready to walk. There are many ready to join us! The board won’t be able to vote to shut down on Monday, but we can lay the groundwork for an emergency meeting to do so once the various districts like ours agree to go.
 
I walked into the board room for the first time in April 1990, during my first year of teaching. It was packed and hot with teachers. HB 1017 was on the ropes at the capitol with no emergency clause passing for it to take effect. I listened as the board heard public comment from the teachers. Finally Supt. Toothaker recommended that the schools not open, citing safety concerns because too many outraged teachers were calling in sick. The board suspended school, the teachers cheered, and on April 16, 1990 thousands of teachers descended on the capitol to demand action. I picketed daily for the rest of the week at the Community Center with my fellow teachers. Once HB 1017 was on its way to Governor Bellmon we resumed work after 5 days out. We made up the lost time at the end of the 1989-1990 school year; today we could convert to minutes and legally not have the students make up the time, and the district will find a way to ensure teachers are still fully paid.
 
28 years ago, through brave collective action, teachers like this rookie pushed HB 1017 through, and for 20 years we and our students benefited from its salary increases, increased standards, class size limits, textbook funding, etc. Since 2008 all of that has been destroyed. Things are far more dire now than they were in 1990.
 
It is time for veterans like me to rise to the occasion once again and pay it forward for the next generation of teachers and students.
Some of us are veterans, some of us are rookies. But we ALL must stand together NOW and lead.
We must be brave and strong, willing to shut down our schools to save them.
 
Our board and the media need to see and hear your support. Please come out Monday at 5:30, and bring every other teacher you can. We need to overflow the board room Monday night and be standing-room-only in the auditorium. The board and the administration are on the teachers’ side, but as always, only the teachers can make this happen.
 
It is time to lead.
 
Granger
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