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Some Differing Opinions On New Bill Funding Teacher Pay Raise

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

As teachers compare their requests with the education funding law that went into effect Thursday, not all educators share the same opinions.

The new law funding educators and education Thursday won’t stop the teacher walkout Monday. President of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) Alicia Priest says her members aren’t OK with the budget deal signed into law. Therefore, many teachers will still walk Monday.

“That's a broken promise to our kids and we can't stand for it,” Priest said.

The OEA’s requests differ from what passed in a number of ways:

  • A $10,000 raise for teachers over three years was requested by the union.
  • The governor signed off on a raise based on years of service that will average just about $6,000.
  • The OEA proposes $200 million for general education funding, for things like textbooks and tech.
  • However, the new law gives about $50 million for education funding.

“Most of all, it looks like funding into the classrooms so that we [can’t] hire back teachers and [decrease] class sizes,” Priest said.

Not all teachers’ groups are unsatisfied. Leaders from the non-union Professional Oklahoma Educators were in the room celebrating with Gov. Mary Fallin when she signed the bill into law.

“We're getting the $6,000. That's accomplished. And we're going to get more funding for general education, and the thing is, the legislators want that. They're not saying ‘no’,” said Executive Director of Professional Oklahoma Educators, Ginger Tinney.

Tinney says her group met with legislators to help come up with the deal. While she thinks teachers deserve more in the long run, Tinny accepts the new law as a good start.

“We're very grateful that this historic moment the largest teacher pay increase in the entire history of Oklahoma,” Tinney said.

READ ALSO: Teachers, Troopers Plan Logistics For Monday Walkout

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