OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that would fund another pay raise for teachers is moving forward after being approved by a Senate committee.
Last year, then-Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that raised teachers’ salaries by an average of $6,100. It also gave $1,250 raises to support staff.
One year later, Gov. Kevin Stitt encouraged lawmakers to come up with a way to fund a $1,200 pay raise for educators during his State of the State address. If that happens, Stitt says Oklahoma teachers would be in the top spot for the region regarding pay and benefits.
As a result of that call, House Speaker Charles McCall authored House Bill 1780, which would provide a $1,200 across the board pay raise for public school teachers. If the bill comes to fruition, it would cost the state $70 million each year.
The bill unanimously passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives in February.
“I have said many times that the pay raise last year was a good first step, but my goal is to get our teachers to number one in the region in pay,” said McCall. “This bill helps us get closer to that goal. House Republicans have made a commitment to our teachers and we are going to follow through. Better pay not only shows our teachers that they are valued, but it also helps us recruit and attract new teachers to the profession and retain the experienced teachers we already have.”
This week, the measure was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“As Senate Republicans have said all along, last year’s huge teacher pay raise was not a ‘one-and-done’ scenario. We are committed to investing more dollars in our students and our classrooms,” said Sen. Greg Treat. “What senators have heard from teachers and administrators is that they want new education dollars to go into the classroom rather than into pay raises. That’s what members of the Senate Republican Caucus are leaning toward as budget negotiations proceed. However, pay raises and classroom funding are not mutually exclusive. Budget talks are going well and we’ll keep working with our partners in the House and Governor’s office to settle the final details of where new education dollars will be spent.”
The bill will be eligible for consideration by the full Senate next week. The deadline for House bills to pass the full Senate is April 25.