House passes bill to fund teacher, state employee pay raises

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House of Representatives has passed revenue measures on Monday evening that would fund pay raises for teachers, school support staff and state employees.

The plan provides first-year teachers with a $5,000 pay raise and increases from there based on experience. Teachers with doctorates and 25 years of experience would receive an $8,300 pay raise.

House Bill 1010, which is a $447 million tax increase, passed 79-19 after needing 76 votes. It marks the first tax increase in Oklahoma history since 1990.

The tax increase plan includes:

  • 3 cent increase on gasoline and 6 on diesel
  • $5 hotel/motel tax
  • $1 tobacco tax
  • 5 percent GPT increase

According to the Oklahoma Education Association, the April 2 walkout is still on.

“Our ask is still our ask,” OEA posted on Facebook. “The House is considering a number of bills tonight that could be a step in the right direction. We’re still asking for a complete package, including funding for years 2 and 3.”

Speaker Charles McCall and Minority Leader Steve Kouplen released the following statements in response:

“Today, the House of Representatives passed a true bipartisan solution to one of the major problems we are facing as a state,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “This plan was developed with input from both Republican and Democrat leadership. It is not a perfect plan, but inaction is simply not an option; it is time to move Oklahoma forward. House Republicans have been negotiating in good faith with House Democrats, the Senate and the Governor’s Office for well over a year in search of a bipartisan solution that would increase our teachers’ pay and put more money into the classroom. These negotiations take time, and the three-fourths majority requirement in our state Constitution means we had to find a true compromise deal that would bring 76 votes in support. It has been exceedingly difficult, but Oklahomans expect us to solve problems. Within the last several days, we have been able to find a compromise and breakthrough the stalemate.

There have been a lot of tough votes taken over the last year in search of a solution, and I commend the members of the House for their perseverance to move this plan one step closer to the finish line. We voted together to build a better and stronger Oklahoma.”

“This is a monumental step in providing a better path forward for both our schools and our state,” said Kouplen, D-Beggs. “We look forward to continue the dialogue that helped this bipartisan plan progress.”

School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks regarding the passage of the “historic” teacher pay raise:

“The Oklahoma House of Representatives worked together in a show of admirable bipartisanship to strengthen public education for our nearly 700,000 schoolchildren across the state.

These measures finally ensure Oklahoma’s dedicated, hard-working public schoolteachers receive well-deserved, competitive pay. In addition, the bills provide desperately needed resources for textbooks and support staff who perform vital services for our students. We know that increased teacher pay is not a cure-all for our state’s crippling teacher shortage, but it would solidly put us on track to retain our committed educators and recruit new teachers to the profession. Without a teacher pay raise, an already devastating situation will only worsen, with children being the ultimate victims.

I am greatly encouraged by the show of overwhelming bipartisan statesmanship and am grateful to each legislator who stepped up to support this historic legislation and giant step forward.”