Gov. Mary Fallin is considering a special session to address pay raises for public school teachers.
Last month, the Office of Management and Enterprise Service said that there would be a surplus of funds close to $160 million by the end of the fiscal year.
In a statement Wednesday, Gov. Fallin said that total was $140.8 million, and that it was initially cut from agency allocations midyear and it can now be allocated.
Gov. Fallin released the following statement:
“I’ve begun discussions with legislative leaders to consider calling lawmakers to return in special session to address the issue of teacher pay raises. I continue to support a pay raise for teachers, having called on lawmakers at the beginning of this year’s session to approve a teacher pay raise. Lawmakers considered it, but this was an extremely difficult budget year and a funding agreement couldn’t be reached. With this available money, I am again asking lawmakers to act on this important issue of providing a raise for every teacher in this state."
If a special session doesn’t occur, OMES can return them equally to all agencies.
“Many agencies have needs, but the fact is this money would do more good for Oklahoma in the form of a teacher pay raise than it would equally distributed to agencies,” OMES Director and Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger said. “A lot of agencies – mine, for one – simply don’t have as compelling a case for the money as education, particularly our teachers.”
Officially, the final revenue collection for fiscal year 2016 was 9.4% below the estimate.