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Barresi seeking $2,000 raises for all Okla. teachers

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OKLAHOMA CITY- The state superintendent is now turning her attention to Oklahoma’s teacher shortage.

Janet Barresi convened the first meeting of the Teacher Shortage Task Force Monday morning.

The group came up with a list of factors impacting the district’s ability to recruit and retain the best teachers.

Among them were teacher salaries, strong competition in the private sector and border state competition for higher paying jobs.

Currently, a first-year teacher in Oklahoma makes about $31,600 per year.

That puts us in the bottom ten states in the country when it comes to starter salaries.

The average teacher’s salary in our state is just over $44,000 per year.

Teachers in 46 other states make more money, including our neighbors to the south in Texas.

Teachers there make an average of more than $48,000.

Barresi is asking that each teacher receive a $2,000 raise, which would make the Sooner State more competitive with surrounding states like Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.

She says the extra money could be funded by tapping into surplus funds and reducing schools’ administrative overhead.

The group will meet up three other times before the end of the year.