Contact: State Rep. Michael Rogers
Capitol: (405) 557-7362
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall and House Common Education Committee Chairman Michael Rogers reiterated today that the House Republican Caucus is committed to funding the teacher pay raise plan passed by both the House and the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee this session. The plan – one of the House Republican Caucus’ highest priorities this session – would phase in a $6,000 teacher pay raise over three years and boost Oklahoma teachers to some of the highest paid in the region.
“We are including in our budget proposal a line item to fund the first year of the teacher pay raise plan, just as we promised we would do,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “Our members heard from citizens over and over on the doorstep that a teacher pay raise was a priority of theirs, and it has been one of our top priorities for our members this entire session. The House and the Senate Appropriations Committee have both passed a bipartisan and realistic teacher pay plan that is awaiting the governor’s signature, and the House intends to fund the raise in our budget and send it to the Senate.”
Beginning last week and continuing this week, House Republicans are running a package of bills aimed at reforming numerous tax credits, exemptions and incentives. Speaker McCall said the first $52.6 million in savings from those reforms would be directed toward funding the teacher pay raise.
House Bill 1114, by state Rep. Michael Rogers, chair of the House Common Education Committee, would include a $1,000 pay raise for teachers during the 2017-18 school year, another $2,000 raise during the 2018-19 school year and a final $3,000 raise during the 2019-20 school year.
Rogers said the phased-in approach would allow the Legislature to manage the current revenue downturn while keeping its promise to boost pay for teachers. Every $1,000 increase in teacher pay would cost approximately $52.6 million, said Rogers.
“We must take care of our teachers first, and we are committed to making Oklahoma teachers the best paid in the region,” said Rogers, R-Broken Arrow. “Our leadership in the House has said over and over that we are going to fund the teacher pay raise without cutting our common education budget. The House will be doing our part to keep that promise, but if the Senate wants to walk away from their commitment to teachers and constituents, the House will not follow them."
Oklahoma already has the third-highest statutory starting minimum teacher pay in the region. Rogers’ plan would raise Oklahoma teacher pay from 48th in the nation to 27th based on recent data from the National Education Association (NEA). When paired with the state’s low cost of living, the plan would move Oklahoma to 13th in the nation for average annual teacher pay at $56,804 (adjusted for cost of living). Oklahoma’s cost of living ranks behind only Mississippi for the lowest in the nation.
House Bill 1114 is currently awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.