Proposed Teacher Raise Bill Would Cap Health Benefits

Tuesday, May 17th 2016, 6:41 pm
By: News 9

House Bill 3214 is meant to raise thousands of dollars for teachers based on years on the job. But while it sounds good on the outside, educators say they aren’t buying it.

President of the  Oklahoma Education, Alicia Priest says,

“I believe that it is a misleading bill. It’s an attempt by the legislature to appease teachers and appear to be giving a raise when there’s no guarantee they’re not gonna back out on money next year,” said President of the Oklahoma Education Association, Alicia Priest.

In addition to the raise, the bill places a cap on how much the state will pay for health benefits.

“What you see now by the House Republicans is an effort to cap their health benefits. In other words, to take it from one pot, their health insurance pot, and give it to them on their pay side, which is going to be taxed and tell them you should be happy because we gave you a raise. Teachers are smarter than that,” said Democratic house minority leader, Scott Inman.

The new bill has not passed through its House committee yet, but educators are already saying it’s time to look for alternatives.

“All this does is try and make people look at something different than what the real issue is. And the real issue is the budget of the state of Oklahoma and what we’re doing to children and our future in education with all the cuts,” said Priest.

This bill just released this week was not heard for Tuesday’s meeting. Once it reaches committee it’ll have to get enough votes before it gets to the house floor.