Work Stoppage School Guidance for Parents:
Q: Are teacher strikes illegal?
A: Yes. Oklahoma law prohibits a local bargaining agent and members of a local bargaining unit from engaging in a strike as a means of resolving a dispute with a local school district during the bargaining process. The bargaining agent is decertified during the period of the strike and striking teachers lose pay and benefits during the period of the strike.
Q: Is a statewide walkout against the legislature a strike?
A: No. A strike by definition is withholding services from an employer to gain an economic advantage in the collective bargaining process. A statewide walkout against the legislature is not a strike against a local school district and would not be prohibited by the anti-strike language in the school district negotiations statutes. The Oklahoma Attorney General ruled in an informal letter opinion that the statewide walkout in 1990 supporting the passage of HB 1017 was not a strike prohibited by these statutes, but rather a statewide protest against the Oklahoma Legislature and therefore the anti-strike prohibition did not apply.
In the event of a walkout, the district will have to make the determination if the district operations would be debilitated due to the number of employees participating in the walkout. If students cannot be supported or supervised, we will have to close operations.
Q: How does the school closure affect graduating seniors?
A: The majority of our seniors have the required number of credits to graduate. For the few who do not, they may still walk at graduation and will have to acquire the credits during the summer before receiving their diploma. The graduation date will not change.
Q: What will students do who participate in the SHARE Program, the Pioneer Technology Program, and Concurrent Enrollment?
A: Students enrolled in these programs will attend these courses. Universities and the PTC will not close if PCPS determines school closure.
Q: What if school is closed on April 3, which is the ACT testing date?
A: If school is closed on April 3, we will offer two days to take the test: April 3, the regular scheduled date, and April 24, the make-up date. Working staff will administer and monitor the assessment. More details to come.
Q: Can we skip state testing if school is closed?
A: Federal dollars are attached to state testing. If we face the worst case scenario, the SDE will be in constant communication with the Secretary of Education. We will keep you informed.
Q: What about AP Testing the first week of May?
A: We will provide guidance as we move closer to that date if necessary.
Q: If the testing window is delayed or rescheduled we will not get 3rd grade reading scores back, therefore will not know which students met RSA criteria. What about summer school for 3rd grade students who do not meet RSA criteria?
A: A summer reading program is currently scheduled to provide support to 3rd grade students who are not reading at grade level. Recently, the SDE communicated that summer school is no longer required but recommended. We would cancel the summer reading program.
Q: If we do not test 3rd grade students how will we know which meet RSA criteria and which do not?
A: We would use the 4 Pathways to Proficiency outlined by RSA law which include students scoring at the 40%tile with a 393 scaled score on a STAR assessment.
Q: What if our students lack supervision and nutrition during a walkout and subsequent school closure?
Zach Murray, our local ACT President, and other ACT Members are working with community partners to develop a plan. Resources will be provided to parents through newsletters and the OEA Town Hall Meeting tentatively scheduled on March 29 at 6:00 PM in the West Middle School Auditorium.
Q: If school is closed due to a suspension of work, will extra-curricular activities continue?
A: As of March 14, it is the plan that all extra-curricular scheduled activities, such as meets, games, concerts, competitions, trips, etc. will continue. However, all practices will begin after the regular contract day ends at 3:35 PM.
Q: If school is closed will students have to make up days?
A: Yes. Oklahoma law provides that school shall be in session and classroom instruction offered for not less than one hundred eighty (180) days or not less than one thousand eighty (1,080) hours. See 70 O.S. §1-109. Further, state law requires that any school district that does not maintain school for a full term (i.e., 180 days/1,080 hours), shall have its State Aid reduced proportionately. See 70 O.S. § 18-110
If the work stoppage and school closure lasts a significant number of days, parents need to make plans for students to attend school after Memorial Day and likely into June. We will keep you informed.
Q: When will we know if the decision has been made to close school due to the walkout?
I will make this decision a day at a time, and I will plan on announcing the closure or return the evening before. If possible, I will make this decision on Friday evening for the following Monday. Stay informed through the PCPS App, the Ponca City Public Schools Facebook Page, local media outlets, and the district website www.pcps.us.