Tulsa World - - Front Page - The is­sue also con­founds Mike Brown 918-581-8390 mike.brown @tul­ Twit­ter: @mike­brownTW

Ok­la­homa school dis­tricts are grap­pling with an im­por­tant side is­sue as a threat­ened teacher walk­out looms on April 2. Many are pre­pared to sus­pend oper­a­tions in sup­port of the teach­ers. But what are they to do about con­tin­u­ing spring sports and other ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties?

Many ad­min­is­tra­tors are call­ing for a com­plete shut­down of all ac­tiv­i­ties. But no­body wants to turn their backs on the ath­letes.

“They feel for their kids,” one ad­min­is­tra­tor said, “but they also know in their hearts that the only way this will work is with a to­tal shut­down.”

The Ok­la­homa Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion is call­ing for the April 2 walk­out if its de­mands for a $10,000 teacher raise over three years and ad­di­tional City, com­mu­nity lead­ers to rally for teach­ers. Page A11

fund­ing for school sup­port per­son­nel are not met. The to­tal three-year bill would amount to about $1.75 bil­lion.

OEA pres­i­dent Ali­cia Priest is urg­ing ev­ery board to de­cide “what's right for its teach­ers, stu­dents and dis­trict.”

So far, how­ever, the is­sue on spring sports has proven thorny. Nei­ther Tulsa Pub­lic Schools nor many sur­round­ing dis­tricts have de­cided.

Bartlesville, Bro­ken Ar­row, Clare­more, Coweta, Glen­pool, Owasso, Sa­pulpa, Ski­a­took and Union voted Mon­day to sup­port the teach­ers by au­tho­riz­ing their re­spec­tive su­per­in­ten­dents to close school in the event of a walk­out. Jenks and TPS are ex­pected to de­cide Thurs­day.

Few have solved the ath­letic is­sue. Glen­pool was an ex­cep­tion. Fol­low­ing lengthy dis­cus­sion in a 3½hour meet­ing, the Glen­pool board voted unan­i­mously to shut down spring ac­tiv­i­ties in the event of a walk­out.

The “dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion,” Glen­pool ath­letic di­rec­tor Ja­son Culler said, “was based on keep­ing sol­i­dar­ity among our teach­ers, staff and dis­trict. (Board mem­bers) felt that if we were to al­low par­tic­i­pa­tion out­side of the con­trac­tual day, it might be viewed as a di­vi­sion within our dis­trict and we didn't want to be per­ceived that way by any­one — in­side or out­side of the dis­trict.”

Bro­ken Ar­row ath­letic di­rec­tor Ken El­lett said the Tigers are “wait­ing for a lit­tle more di­rec­tion from the (Ok­la­homa Sec­ondary School Ac­tiv­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion).”

But the OSSAA. The state's gov­ern­ing body of in­ter­scholas­tic com­pe­ti­tion is try­ing to de­ter­mine ex­actly what per­cent­age of its 481 mem­ber schools are go­ing to al­low spring par­tic­i­pa­tion and those who aren't.

“We've heard from both sides and it's an is­sue we've cer­tainly dis­cussed,” as­so­ciate di­rec­tor Mike Wha­ley said. “But un­til we have a more de­fined po­si­tion, it's too early to have a de­fin­i­tive plan.”

Be­fore the OSSAA are such is­sues as what hap­pens to a team forced to miss dis­trict games in the sports of base­ball or soc­cer. Would those teams have to for­feit, and how would the for­feits af­fect their play­off sta­tus?

And there is the po­ten­tial for reschedul­ing if the walk­out drags on and large num­bers of schools are un­able to par­tic­i­pate in a sched­uled ac­tiv­ity.

It is one thing for the OSSAA to move around a few base­ball games and soc­cer matches. Those can be played al­most any­where. It's an­other en­tirely to post­pone a re­gional or state golf tour­na­ment, sched­uled for months at a course or coun­try club that likely will have dif­fi­culty find­ing al­ter­nate dates.

One of the first events likely to be af­fected is the state speech and de­bate tour­na­ment, April 5-7 at the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa.

Be­cause of the ex­ten­sive space re­quired for such a mam­moth event, the OSSAA would be loath to post­pone and try to resched­ule.

IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

Edi­son's Ja­cob Fore­man bat­tles for a header while play­ing against Sand Springs at Memo­rial High School on Tues­day.

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