Gov. Henry will ask for teacher pay raise

Tuesday, January 22nd 2008, 4:48 pm
By: News 9


On Wednesday, Gov. Brad Henry will urge lawmakers at the State Capitol to raise the state's teacher salary to match the regional average.

Currently, Oklahoma teachers make a little less than $39,000 per year. While it's better pay than they received in past years, it's still the lowest teacher pay in the region.

Oklahoma ranks 48th on the U.S. teacher pay scale.

At least one teacher fears if salaries don't go up, more teachers will move out of state.

"My family is here, I'm here. I'm not looking to go somewhere else. That doesn't mean if the right opportunity came I wouldn't take it," said Kristy Crabtree, an Oklahoma public school teacher. "But for these new teachers coming in, they're going to go to states [where they can be] making more money."

In 2004, the governor proposed a multi-year effort to boost teacher compensation. The pay raise passed in the legislature as an effort to attract and retain high-quality teachers.

If this year's raise passes, Oklahoma teachers will have gotten pay raises for five years in a row. Lawmakers have raised teachers' pay incrementally each year, but still need to approve another raise this year to hit the regional average.

The governor will be joined at the news conference by First Lady Kim Henry, State Schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett and other education leaders.

State school superintendent Sandy Garrett said she'll ask lawmakers for enough money to raise teachers' salaries by another $2,000 dollars.