Will Oklahoma teachers still walkout after Gov. Fallin signs pay raise bill?
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 31, 2018,
Mar 31, 2018, 7:34
Teachers in Oklahoma applauded the state Senate's passage of a $447 million bill to fund educators' first raise in a decade by raising taxes on oil and gas production as well as cigarettes and fuel-but warned that the plan is not enough to keep them from striking. It was worth an estimated $50 million in revenue, but Senate Republican leaders would not release the funding bill for the governor to sign with the lodging tax in place.
"I want to thank our legislative leaders from both parties for their tremendously hard work on these measures", Fallin said."I appreciate their long hours, and I commend the fearless men and women in the House and Senate for their courageous action in voting for these bills". It increases the state's gasoline tax by 3 cents and the diesel tax by 6 cents.
As KOSU reports, the legislation increases teacher salaries an average of $6,000, and if signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, it will be the first teacher pay raise in a decade. The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) has been pushing for a $10,000 raise for teachers and $5,000 raise for education support professionals over three years.
Oklahoma teachers were inspired by the successful strike in West Virginia, where educators similarly exerted pressure on recalcitrant GOP lawmakers to win a major victory. "It's a big pay raise for our teachers".
Bartlesville: If Fallin signs the bill, a majority of teachers will not walkout.
"I want them to have every opportunity and I don't feel like sometimes the state of Oklahoma worries about that", teacher Cindy Rogers said. For example, certified teachers with 25 years experience could see their pay increase by almost $8,000 to top out at $51,232, according to a budget analysis.
Advocates say low teacher compensation pushes educators out of Oklahoma classrooms and the profession. "They're listening to the business community, saying that we have to have a highly skilled, educated work force".
Oklahoma teachers are fighting for more than raises for teachers.
A host of Tulsa-area schools have announced school closures for next week because of the looming teacher walkout.
More experienced classroom teachers would receive an even larger raise based on years of service and their certification.
"Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students", Priest said. As a special education helper, he said he does not see how teachers can handle what they're asked to do.
Cobb reported Friday that 93 percent of about 1,000 teachers and other workers he polled said they wanted to walk out on Monday and 83 percent "thought we should stay out of school beyond Monday". "I don't trust. If you've got a bill that's going to raise revenue, put it on the bill at the same time and let's get something done", Williams said.
Question Number 4: What about school support staff?
What started in West Virginia has spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona.
However, in a 69-26 vote Thursday, the House voted to repeal the hotel/motel tax through HB1012XX. Sen.