Teacher Pay Raises Helping Oklahoma Districts Retain Staff
EDMOND, Oklahoma - After walking out of the classroom back in April, teachers are heading back to school this year with a pay raise. Those pay raises are helping more than just the teachers.
For years, Oklahoma was the place to be for a lot of teachers, and that meant school districts had a tough time stopping them from leaving the state.
Schools tried a lot of things to save money to pay teachers more, and to recruit them to stay, even cutting down on the number of days in the school week.
But that all changed this year, when protesting teachers, students and parents were able to get a $5,000 dollar raise across the board.
That means Oklahoma's starting teacher salary is $36,000 a year and teachers can top out at $54,000 dollars a year.
Those raises have been a big help to districts like Edmond which has been able to put a teacher in just about every classroom.
“We're excited about the fact that teachers not only in Oklahoma are looking at Edmond, but teachers from outside the state are looking at sometimes coming back home. I think the teacher pay raise has helped them to look back at their home state to impact kids,” said Edmond Public Schools Chief Human Resource Officer Randy Decker.
All this is good news, but Oklahoma still ranks near the bottom for teacher salaries in the country and below the national average which is about $58,000 dollars a year.