The state Department of Education is asking the Legislature for $3.35 billion. That’s $440 million more than the agency got last year.
Last year, the Legislature raised taxes to record levels, in part to fund teacher pay raises.
This year, the Department of Education wants additional pay raises, plus more money to be funneled into the classrooms to reduce class sizes.
“So beyond pay, it’s class size, but there are a few other areas," Joy Hofmeister, Superintendent of Public Instruction, said. "We would ask for an investment in professional development for our teachers. We also need to mentor our new teachers and then have growth and leadership opportunities for them.”
Right now, Oklahoma ranks third in the region for pay. Hofmeister said a $3,000 raise would raise the state to number one. That would cost an additional $176 million.