Group Pushes To Pay College Debt For Oklahoma Teachers

Monday, February 13th 2017, 5:59 pm

A member of the so called "Teachers Caucus" has his first education bill passed out of committee. It's a bill he says will help retain teachers in Oklahoma. 

The Teachers Caucus was a group of educators and former educators who ran on a pro-education platform. On Monday, one of their members passed his first piece of legislation through committee, although he admits, right now he hasn't come up with a way to pay for it.

The house education committee unanimously passed a bill that would pay college debt for teachers who stay in an Oklahoma school district for seven years. Freshman Rep. Mickey Dollens says his bill would be in addition to any raises teachers get, and would serve as an incentive to keep teachers in Oklahoma.

"By applying it to teachers across the board, it will be seven years due to increased competition. So we really want teachers to plant their roots in Oklahoma," said Dollens.

Dollens bill is contingent on whether the state can afford to pay teachers college debt. And with the state facing an estimated $868-million budget shortfall, right now there is no money for Dollens’ plan. He says he's just laying the groundwork for when the economy improves.