EPSF Support Statement of Teachers
Posted on March 13th, 2018

“We unequivocally support Edmond Public Schools teachers, support staff and administration.”
We support Edmond teachers as well as others across the state in their choice to take action if Oklahoma lawmakers do not take immediate steps to increase teacher pay to a regionally competitive amount and begin reversing the dismal funding for public education in general. 
Our board of directors and staff are made up of business leaders, parents and alumni.  We believe the success Edmond Public Schools experiences is because Edmond sees our school district as a source of great pride. For example, Edmond citizens have passed 58 bond elections since 1959 to make certain our children have the physical spaces they need to learn. 
It has been 10 years since Oklahoma teachers have been given a pay raise by the legislature. Although Edmond has prioritized teacher salaries and are $3,000 above the minimum state salary schedule, we are still $10,000-$15,000 below starting salaries offered in surrounding states.
Edmond alone will have approximately 300 positions needing to be filled for the 2018-2019 school year due to increased student enrollment, teachers retiring, teachers leaving Oklahoma, and teachers leaving the profession.  There will not be enough education graduates from Oklahoma colleges to begin to address the openings in school districts across the Oklahoma City metro area alone, much less the rest of the state.
Simply stated: This may be the year Edmond cannot hire enough teachers. If that is the case, class sizes will increase even more, quality of instruction will continue to erode, and programs will be in jeopardy.
Teachers are leaving Oklahoma and Edmond for positions in surrounding states or careers with better pay. A decade of lawmakers continuing to pass and fail specific senate and house bills that have deflated, demoralized and devalued the teaching profession, has resulted in Oklahoma leading the region with a 37 percent reduction in students even pursuing teaching careers. 
There is nothing sound about an economic development plan for Oklahoma that doesn’t include and prioritize a vibrant, well-funded and well-supported public education system for nearly 700,000 Oklahoma school-age children.
The mission of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation is to connect the community and its resources with Edmond Public Schools teacher, student and school needs in pursuit of the highest level of academic excellence.  We cannot fundraise Edmond out of this crisis, but we can raise our collective voices to encourage Edmond citizens to contact and visit their elected House and Senate representatives and urge them to keep our teachers in the classroom and in Oklahoma by immediately approving pay raises and creating a plan to increase funding to our schools.
Oklahoma’s most precious natural resource is our children.  The most critical component driving a student’s learning and success is a highly qualified, competent and caring teacher. We are short-changing our children, our economy and our future by inadequately funding our public schools.

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