OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of educators and supporters of the ‘Step Up Oklahoma’ plan rallied at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Monday to show their support for the proposal.
“We’ve got to do something for our state and it’s time that we bring our teachers back into the fold. We need to pay them,” Tony O’Brien, the superintendent for Newcastle Public Schools, said.
“I’ve taught pre-K for 12 years and I’ve never got a pay raise. For 12 years, we’ve never got one. We love our job, we do this for the babies. It’s time for them to pay us,” Julie Atchley, with Locust Grove Public Schools, said.
Educators are hoping the ‘Step Up Oklahoma’ plan might be the answer.
The proposal would raise almost $800 million for our state and over $250 million of that revenue would pay for a $5,000 teacher pay raise. It would also raise the state tax on cigarettes, gasoline, oil and gas production and introduce a new fee on wind energy.
“There are pros and cons to it, but it`s time. We need a raise,” Ellie Cunningham, with Locust Grove Public Schools, said.
While most lawmakers agree that teachers need a raise, some are still voting against the plan.
“Step Up Oklahoma’ plan is a plan for oil and gas, by oil and gas,” said Rep. Cory Williams. “I don’t sign off on the ‘Step Up Oklahoma Plan’. I think there’s a regressive shifting of the tax burden to the people who are least able to afford it. We’re basically asking teachers to pay for their own raise.”