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Lawmakers Say Teacher Pay Raise Is Number One Priority This Session

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[File Photo] [File Photo]
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Despite another budget deficit, Oklahoma lawmakers said they're confident they can come up with a way to give teachers a raise this year.  

The Speaker of the House has already given his endorsement to a proposal for a $6,000 pay hike.

At Monday's Edmond Republican Women's Club, their keynote speaker, state Sen. David Holt, talked about what he says has been the biggest concern of constituents -- a teacher pay raise.

“We just have to, we just have to,” he said of a pay hike for teachers. “It’s so critical to the future of our state.”

Last year, Holt proposed a $10,000 raise for teachers and said he'll do the same this year.

“Mine’s going to have quite a menu of options,” he said. “What’s important to me is really demonstrating to people this can be done.”

In the state House of Representatives, Rep. Michael Rogers, R-District 98, has a plan for a $6,000 raise to be phased in over three years.

New House Speaker Charles McCall charged Rogers with coming up with a proposal and has already endorsed it. He said they are still working on how to pay for the proposal.

“I think our mindset has shifted and (we) just said you know what, we’re going to make this happen, no matter what we’ve got to do we’re going to make it happen,” Rogers said.

Holt and Rogers' proposals are only two of what will likely be many pay raise options lawmakers will consider this session. The governor had a proposal for a teacher pay raise last year, but her spokesperson said they don’t have details on what she will suggest this year. 

“For me, it’s not about if it’s my plan or not, if we have a better plan I would have no problem shelving mine and supporting that one,” said Rogers.

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