OKLAHOMA CITY - Supporters of a teacher pay raise proposal say it's the "best plan" on the table and one that can actually pass.
The "60 in 6" plan introduced Thursday night was presented by Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka and Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow. They were joined by the Professional Oklahoma Educators ('POE') group, which helped craft this proposal.
"It gives Oklahoma the opportunity to do something that we’ve done in other areas, and that is, have a long-term thinking and a long-term plan," said Rep. Rogers. "The teachers across this state, I think deserve it. They deserve the Legislature to put this together and make sure that it’s achievable."
Under this proposal, all teacher pay levels would increase by 5% in the 2018-2019 school year which would be the first year of the plan. The second year promises raises for teachers ranging from 9.82%-14.75% from the initial year with overall raises of 34.18%-50.85% when the plan is fully in place after 6 years.
Aaron Kaspereit, a POE member and teacher at Harrah High School, said the plan is designed to reward career teachers.
"Lets take a 25-year teacher for example. The first year is just over $2,000. In the second year of the plan, they receive more than a $4,000 pay increase so they’re getting $6,000 dollars in the first two years of the plan," explained Kaspereit.
The problem, according to the Oklahoma Educators Association ('OEA'), is that the plan falls short of the raises teachers deserve. OEA executive director David DuVall said it also does not include raises for support staff.
"Because of the cost of living increases, the 6,000 dollars just simply puts teachers back where they were ten years ago and then the additional raises we’re calling for in year two and year three are the actual raises," explained DuVall.
Jason Sutton, a public information officer for House Speaker Charles McCall, says they are considering to present the plan as a bill. He said House and Senate leadership, along with budget chairs, can present bills at any time.