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House Reveals Teacher Pay Plan With No Way To Fund It

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

House Republicans presented a plan they say would give teachers large raises, more than they are demanding over six years, and even more if they continue teaching. But there’s a problem with the plan. Lawmakers didn’t identify a way to pay for the $700 million plan.

“This plan today is a plan that I think is achievable” said Representative Charles McCall (R) House Speaker, flanked by teachers and members of Professional Oklahoma Educators.

That plan, called the “60-in six plan” calls for regular increases in pay.

For example an entry level teacher would start at 33-thousand dollars, that’s up 5-percent from where they start now. By the sixth year of the plan that teacher would make 42-thousand dollars.

“When fully implemented it will move Oklahoma from the back of the heap all the way up to 18th in the country in pay and number three in the country when you adjust for the cost of living.” Said Representative Michael Rogers (R) Tulsa.

Wednesday night a bill failed in the senate that would have increased taxes on tobacco, fuel and oil and natural gas production, called gross production, to fund 5-thousand dollar teacher raises. That’s a far cry from the 10-thousand dollar raises teachers and the Oklahoma Education Association demanded.

As for this new plan, OEA director Alicia Priest said, “It’s worse than the plan that failed in the senate last night and once again, it’s nothing more than a political stunt.”

Priest suggests legislative leaders, republican and democrat; house and senate, sit down and hash out a plan. 

“It hasn’t been done yet. So we’re pushing it. We’re pushing that we all need to be in a room a plan that addresses all of our needs,” Priest said.

Teachers say unless they see a 3-year, $3.3 billion dollar plan that gives them, their support staffs and state workers significant raises, they’re hitting the picket lines April second. 

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