Majority of Guymon teachers vote to end walkout
GUYMON, Oklahoma —
Teachers at Guymon Public Schools met Friday at the Guymon Auditorium to vote on continuing or ending the walkout. Out of 228 total votes, 176 voted to resume school and return to work while 52 voted in favor of continuing the walkout. Superintendent Doug Melton had this response after the results were tallied,” The vote was done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the teachers voted 70 percent to come back and 30 percent to stay on walk,” said Doug Melton, superintendent of Guymon Public Schools. “We will be having school on Monday.”
Teacher Zach McIntyre has taught school for 16 years at Guymon. He tells ABC 7 News the teachers are still planning to send a delegation to the state capitol.
“We want to ride this wave,” said Zach McIntyre, teacher. “If walking out is not going to keep that attention going then maybe just keeping our presence at the capitol is the way to do it.”
The teachers who met on Friday tell ABC 7 News not all is lost despite getting a six-percent increase in pay. They said raising awareness about classroom conditions and low funding issues across the state was a vital part to the walkout.
“I took a $10,000 pay cut to come here from Ohio,” said Chris Leighty, teacher. “It may be worth it because I’ve got this great community around here.”
The teachers who agreed to go on camera after Friday’s vote tell ABC 7 News they believe real change will come after educators decide to run for office and win seats at the state level.
“A lot of those senators and reps who were counting on being un-opposed they may have to rethink their strategy when it comes to funding education in the future,” said Leighty.
“Teachers are inherently learners themselves,’ said Jimmy Acevedo, teacher. “With the amount of people running for office now new people running that’s going to be a substantial force to be reckoned with.”
The school bell will ring on Monday at regularly scheduled times. Melton tells ABC 7 News that prom, last day of school and graduation are on as scheduled and that no makeup days will have to be added to the end of the calendar year.