Ardmore City Schools will close for four days next week for the statewide teacher walkout.
The ACS Board of Education passed a resolution approving the plan on Tuesday. The schools will be closed Monday, reopen for ACT testing on Tuesday, then remain closed for the rest of the week. Friday will serve as a professional day, giving teachers a chance to advocate at the Capitol or walk out in protest.
“Over the past week or so we floated out a lot of ideas, trying to come up with what would work best for us,” ACS Superintendent Kim Holland said. “We looked at everything from sending out a delegation to being out one or two days to being out all week and so forth.”
After speaking with the Ardmore Educators Association and Ardmore Support Persons Organization, they concluded they couldn’t afford to miss testing days, which could result in the loss of federal education funding. Last week, the board passed a resolution stating its support for teachers and staff who were seeking a teacher pay raise.
Athletics and other
extracurricular activities will continue during the walkout. Holland said the administration is still working out some of the details of the plan.
“We also plan to work with local agencies to make sure our elementary kids are fed,” Holland said. “We still have some concerns with our cafeteria workers, to make sure our hourly employees are paid.”
Ardmore Support Persons Organization President Gene Cormier said his organization will send delegates to the state Capitol during the walkout while the rest continue to work.
“Everybody who has to be in place to do what we need to do will be,” Cormier said. “First and foremost, we’ve got to think of our kids.”
Cormier said for support staff, it’s familiar territory. They’ve sent delegations to the Capitol in the past, trying to negotiate pay raises.
“A lot of us haven’t gotten a raise in 10 or 11 years, so it’s important for us to continue that fight,” Cormier said. “Most of the support personnel I work with have two or three jobs to make ends meet. Some of them are raising families on that salary.”