Oklahoma Legislature advances teacher pay raise measures

TULSA, Okla. – At least seven measures that would authorize a pay raise for Oklahoma public school teachers are pending in the state Legislature, but lawmakers have not found a way to pay for them.

The Tulsa World reports that Oklahoma will be last in teacher pay this year unless one of the bills passes with enough funding to pay for it.

The National Education Association says that Oklahoma ranked 42nd in teacher pay in 2007 with an average $43,551, which includes health, life and retirement benefits.

Then, the recession hit, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says Oklahoma has led the nation in cuts to public education per pupil spending since 2008. The nonpartisan group estimates 27 percent of state per pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, has been cut.