Teachers back at the capitol for answers over pay raise

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OKLAHOMA CITY - For the second day in row, a group of teachers showed up at the state capitol lobbying for a raise.

The Oklahoma Education Association has given lawmakers until April 2 to fund a teacher pay raise.

"We would love, love, to have a $10,000 raise," said Julie Atchley, Locust Grove teacher.

Locust Grove teachers and students visited the capitol on Tuesday.

"They say they're getting the ball rolling, and they were working on something as we went into their offices today, and we hope that's true," Atchley said.

Atchley says now is the time.

"We've been told today to take little steps at a time, but I think that's really hard for us because they haven't proven to us in the last 10, 15, 20 years that it's going to happen," said Michelle Howell, Locust Grove librarian.

The teachers' last stop was to Senator Wayne Shaw's office.

"Most everybody here at the capitol does support teachers. It's just finding that revenue," said Howell.

Several Locust Grove teachers packed inside of Sen. Shaw's office for some answers.

Shaw told them he would support a six percent tax at the pump on fuel and a cigarette tax. As for a gross production tax, he said the state can't ask for too much.

"If we can get four this year, you can always come back next year for five. If I go for seven, and I don't get anything, we haven't done anything. I'm always willing to go with what I can get," Sen. Shaw said.

There are several plans on the table, including a 5% raise for teachers. That proposal would mean teachers with more than 25 years of experience could see a $60,000 salary by the sixth year.

Another proposal would mean a $10,000 raise for teachers and an additional $5,000 for support staff.

"We don't have a lot of faith, I think what it is right now," Howell said.

Teachers tell us they'll be back at the capitol Wednesday.

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