For Immediate Release: March 4, 2003
Hobson’s Obstruction Leads to Teacher Layoffs
State Capitol, Oklahoma City – The decision by Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, and other Democrat leaders to obstruct education funding in the Legislature is now leading to teacher layoffs.
“Republicans warned early on that if the Legislature failed to pass education funding before March 1st, school boards would be forced to assume the worst and start issuing pink slips to teachers. Senator Hobson and the Democrat leadership have obstructed efforts to fund education first, and we’re now seeing teacher layoffs that are a result of their obstruction,” stated Senator James Williamson, R-Tulsa, the Senate Republican leader.
In Hobson’s own backyard, the Norman Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Monday evening to approve $1.69 million in budget reductions for the next school year. As a result, ten middle school teachers are being laid off, according to the Norman Transcript. This scene is being repeated across Oklahoma as school boards meet to consider laying off teachers, eliminating programs, and closing schools to meet next year’s budget.
“Our hearts go out to these educators, and Republicans are doing everything we can to help. Last week Senate Republicans even tried to pass an amendment to fund common education at Governor Henry’s proposed levels for next year. But Cal Hobson decided it was better to play politics and kill the funding than to say yes to education. Now we’re seeing teacher layoffs,” said Senator Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, Assistant Republican Leader.
“The Democrats have total control of government. They have majorities in the Senate and the House. They have the governorship. They can pass any bill they want without any Republican support, and they can stop every Republican proposal. Republicans want to be part of the solution, but the solution has to be a two-way street,” said Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, Assistant Republican Leader.
“From real tort reform to zero-based budgeting to streamlining state government, we have seen the majority Democrats reject Republican proposals that would help the state’s budget crunch. We hear no talk from Democrat legislative leaders of reforming and streamlining government, only talk of increasing the tax burden on Oklahoma families. Only by working together to reform state government and promote economic growth can there be a long-term budget solution,” Williamson concluded.
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