Ada Holds Rally to Empower Oklahoma Schools Amid Budget Crisis
By Brittany Harlow | Posted: Tue 9:53 PM, Mar 29, 2016 | Updated: Wed 6:26 PM, Mar 30, 2016
ADA, Okla. -- More than 400 people from several school districts came together at Ada Cougar Activity Center Tuesday night to show support for Oklahoma schools.
Parent said they were thankful for the opportunity to show appreciation for their teachers.
Misty Boyd brought her first grader, Brendan, to the event.
“Our teachers and our schools do an amazing job with our kids in the face of looming cuts and anxiety about their jobs they keep on making things happy and wonderful for our kids,” Boyd said. “And we just want to show up and say we’re here to help anyway we can.”
The rally comes less than a week after Ada schools announced they are shortening the school year to save money for next year's budget cuts.
Larger class sizes and a continued hiring freeze are expected in the days to come.
Ada Fire Captain Daniel Manuel organized the event. He told News12 he put the rally together to strengthen local public schools through teamwork.
“My goal is for when everyone leaves here tonight, that they leave with a sense of hope, purpose, and really a clear vision of what they can do as an individual to make things better,” Manuel said.
Manuel encouraged the community to communicate respectfully on issues they may not agree on.
“There’s a lot of finger-pointing and tonight’s not about finger-pointing,” Manuel said. “It’s not about laying blame. It’s about saying this is our situation but here’s what we’re going to do to go forward.”
He said even kids can be a positive influence by being respectful to their teachers.
State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she was excited to see so many people at the event.
“So many people in this area who are committed to giving up their personal time,” Hofmeister said. “To giving their time, talent and their resources to make sure our kids have what they need.”
Hofmeister said retaining teachers in Oklahoma and the effects of the state’s budget shortfall are the two biggest problems facing education right now.
Representative Todd Thomsen said he's doing everything he can at the state level to help Oklahoma schools.
“What I can do as an individual representative is try my best to advocate for education and the importance of public education so that when we’re finalizing the budget that its prioritized with whatever we do,” Thomsen said.
Manuel said he hopes Tuesday's event is the first of many to come throughout the state.