Lawmakers Scramble To Prevent Teacher Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - Legislators have been meeting behind closed doors at the Capitol in hopes of beating the teacher walkout deadline.
The plan could give teachers a $5,000 to $6,000 raise and help avoid a walkout.
The plan calls for $922 million in new revenue from a number of sources, like raising the gross production tax, and cigarette and fuel taxes.
The revenue created would fund raises for teachers, support staff and state workers, and leave the state with an additional $250 million in new revenue.
Backers of this new plan say it's the best shot for getting enough votes to pass.
"It's a new day. We got teachers fixing to walk out. I've got a stack of letters on my desk from seniors at Moore High School, wondering if they are going to graduate," Assistant Majority Floor Leader Mark McBride said. "It's time for us to do something."
But sources say the plan is not backed by leaders of the House and Senate, who already have plans of their own.
One state senator has a three-phase plan introduced to help move toward desired teacher and state employee pay raises.
The senator behind the effort is Republican, Michael Bergstrom from Adair.
He said the three obstacles to passing a teacher pay raises are insufficient revenue, unreasonable expectations and political maneuvering.
Bergstrom's plans calls for a $6,000 raises over three years.
Additionally, the plan includes $2,500 raises for state employees making less than $50,000 over three years.
For Bergstrom's plan to work three bills worth more than $300 million over three years will have to pass with a simple majority.
The three bills are: Senate Bill 1086 Capital Gains Tax Restoration, SB 1195 Casino Ball and Dice, and SB 1030 Medicaid Work Retirement.