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Teacher pay raise bills pass out of education subcommittee

OKLAHOMA CITY - Seven different bills aimed at getting teachers more money were passed out of the Senate Subcommittee on Education Wednesday morning.

One of those would give all teachers a $10,000 pay raise over 4 years.

“I want us to, as a state, try to get ahead of the curve for once instead of always playing catch up,” said Sen. David Holt, the author of Senate Bill 316.

Several other bills would raise the minimum salary schedule for teachers.

So, instead of a first-year teacher making $31,600, that teacher would make $36,600.

Much of the talk in the subcommittee centered around how to fund these raises.

“Instead of eliminating the tax on groceries, I would look upon using that money which is $350 million of which to fund a 3-4,000 dollar raise,” said Sen. Ron Sharp, author of Senate Bill 8.

“Raise gas tax for both diesel and regular unleaded to 23 cents per gallon,” said Sen. Gary Stanislawski, author of Senate Bill 618.

The current tax is 14 cents per gallon for diesel and 17 cents per gallon for unleaded.

“We need to create a designated revenue source and stop playing games with that designated source down the years,” Sharp said.

Another bill that passed through would set maximum salaries for superintendents - anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000, with exceptions for larger districts.

The author of that bill, Senator Jason Smalley, said it is currently difficult to pinpoint administration costs in some districts.

“It’s not necessarily a shot at educators by any means or superintendents. I think it’s just a clear cut shot to say we constantly, we need accurate information to make accurate decisions,” Smalley said.

All of the bills that passed through the subcommittee will now be considered by the full Appropriations Committee.