Walkout Opponents Cite Oklahoma Cost Of Living In Teacher Pay Debate
OKLAHOMA CITY - Education advocates say Oklahoma ranks last in the nation and the region when it comes to teacher pay.
Oklahoma teachers are asking for a $10,000 teacher raise over the next three years to make our schools competitive. But some argue if you adjust those salaries for cost of living, Oklahoma is more in line with other states in our region.
Alberto Morejan and his wife are both young teachers in Stillwater. They love it here. But don't think they haven't at least done the math on moving to Texas.
“If we move three hours south we’re getting a $45,000 raise between the both of us,” said Morejan.
The cost of living in Dallas is about $4,000 more per person so they would still come out way ahead.
But according to the education non-profit EdBuild, who took average teacher salaries and adjusted them to cost of living for a recent NPR article, Oklahoma's adjusted teacher salaries would be closer to the middle of the pack in the region.
“I do not care about cost a cost of living table or calculation on the internet or what someone might offer as an excuse for not addressing competitive pay,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
Hofmeister says such cost of living adjustments are irrelevant.
Other states not only offer better pay, but a better learning environment.
Oklahoma has cut education funding by 28 percent in the past decade. Right now, nearly 2,000 teachers in Oklahoma are emergency certified.
“What matters is that teachers are leaving Oklahoma. Teachers have been walking out one by one out of Oklahoma Schools and Oklahoma classrooms for the last several years and they are leaving in droves. We have to do something to show respect,” said Hofmeister.