The state House of Representatives passed a bill to give teachers another raise. That’s on top of the $6,000 raise they got last year. But education advocates say that’s still not enough.
This week, News 9 learned the state has roughly $337 million more dollars to spend this year than it did last year, after obligations are payed down our obligations. The governor wants to put $200 million of that into savings, and another $60 million into $1,200 annual raises for teachers.
“With our surplus of revenue, the governor and speaker has made it a priority to set money aside for this,” Representative Rhonda Baker (R) El Reno told representatives on the floor of the House.
But Democrats say, that’s not enough, and more should be spent in the classroom.
“My sugar momma wife is a public school classroom teacher and I know our family would appreciate a pay raise, but I’m mindful our state does not have unlimited resources. And I’ve heard from teacher after teacher that what is effectively a $60 a month pay raise after taxes, will mostly just go back in their classrooms,” said Representative Andy Fugate (D) Del City.
Representative Emily Virgin (D) House Minority Leader added, “The teacher pay raise that we gave them last year was substantial, but they know that the walkout, for them, and we heard them loud and clear, was not about teacher pay. It was about classroom funding.”
Oklahoma Education Association, a union that represents teachers, says now is not the time to pad our savings account.
“Investing in our students is more important than socking money away for the future,” said Alicia Priest of the Oklahoma Education Association.
The $1,200 pay raise bill now goes to the state Senate.