OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Democratic leaders in the Oklahoma House and Senate have come up with their own education plan as GOP leaders continue their back-and-forth over funding.

“Our Senators and Representatives can come together to create a plan that meets families where their children are—in public schools,” House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City said.

GOP leaders in the House and Senate have been arguing for weeks over the state’s education funds.

Each chamber has its own ideas for how the money should be spent.

The disagreements are over specifics to the private school tax credit, funding to school districts, and teacher pay raises.

The Senate proposal for private school tax credits would include a household income cap of $250,000. Any family making more than that amount would not qualify.

The House does not have an income cap, and Speaker of the House, Charles McCall, believes a cap creates “class warfare.”

After weeks of disagreements, the Democrats in both chambers have put forth their own plan for funding.

“Ninety-five percent of parents in Oklahoma choose public schools, so that’s where we want to invest,” Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd said.

The “Oklahoma Kids First Plan” calls for $800 million to spend on public school students including:

  • Smaller class sizes: Research shows that kids in smaller class sizes perform better on all assessments.
  • Clean Teacher Pay Raises: Oklahoma teachers are leaving the classroom because of low pay and few resources. A significant pay raise—up to $12,000—would be a game changer for our teachers and they would choose to stay. Research shows that a highly qualified teacher is the most important factor for student success in the classroom.
  • Wrap-around Supports: We know that things outside the classroom impact student learning. Our plan calls for more mental health counselors to be integrated into classrooms across Oklahoma and for increased school safety.

“We have the funding to really improve public education in Oklahoma. We want to put Oklahoma’s kids first, not adult egos or pet projects for the wealthy elite,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa.

Earlier this week, a bill to increase the minimum pay schedule for first-time teachers by $3,000 and add up to $6,000 based on years of experience was amended to no longer include that pay bump.