Legislature Sends Historic Education Package to Governor
The Legislature today gave final passage to a set of bills directing a historic investment into public education.
Senate Bill 1119 provides longevity-based pay raises for all certified staff, ranging from a $3,000 increase for teachers with 0-4 years' experience; $4,000 for 5 to 9 years; $5,000 for 10-14 years; and $6,000 for teachers employed 15 years or more.
Senate Bill 1121 provides six weeks' paid maternity leave for teachers employed for at least a year.
House Bill 2901 appropriates a recurring $500 million to the school funding formula to cover costs associated with SB1119 and SB1121.
Senate Bill 1120 directs $125 million to the Redbud Fund to address property tax revenue disparities in districts with lower ad valorem bases to help meet basic infrastructure and maintenance needs.
Senate Bill 1118 creates a three-year literacy instructional team within the State Dept. of Education to assist school districts. The team will have five regional locations across the state and will help teachers recognize educational needs of students, with an additional emphasis on students who have dyslexia. The program is funded through a one-time appropriation of $10 million.
House Bill 2903 creates a three-year school safety pilot program to provide every district with a school resource officer or security upgrades.
House Bill 2904 provides a one-time appropriation of $150 million toward HB2903. Each school district will receive approximately $96,000 annually throughout the three-year program.
Each bill passed both chambers overwhelmingly, with final votes delivered Friday, May 18. They now move to the governor's desk for consideration and, if signed into law, would take effect in Fiscal Year 2024, which begins July 1, 2023.
"Every year, our constituents tell us they want to see additional investments into public education, and thanks to thoughtful budgeting, we have been able to direct historic levels of new money into our public schools this year. With the implementation of this year's education plan, the Legislature will have invested more funding into public education in the past five years than in the previous 27 years combined. I'm proud of the work we have done to provide more resources and flexibility to every student, every parent, every teacher and every school district in the state." – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
“Negotiations were tough and combative at times but I value the transformative product that came out of the process. We are making historic investments in public education, giving meaningful teacher pay raises, delivering maternity leave, making critical investments for school safety, and delivering choice for kids and parents in Oklahoma. I want to sincerely thank Senators Pugh, Pemberton, and McCortney for the months of work that went into this. Also, I want to thank Justice Steven Taylor for directing the negotiations in a productive fashion. Finally, I want to thank all 40 members of my caucus who gave incredibly meaningful input to improve the legislation.”– Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City
"Each year I have served in the House of Representatives, we have worked to pass historic education funding. This year's plan surpasses them all. We've secured $625 million in new recurring funding for our public schools and another $160 million to go toward literacy and school safety efforts. Under this plan, every certified teacher in the state will get thousands of extra dollars in their paychecks aligning with their years of service to students in their classrooms. I am so proud of our efforts to support public education with our actions and our resources." – House Common Education Chair and former teacher Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
"Oklahoma public school teachers prepare hundreds of thousands of students each year to succeed in life and work after high school. This strengthens our communities and Oklahoma's economy. This package gives these teachers the largest pay raise in state history, showing them our confidence and appreciation for the job they do. It also appropriates historic amounts of funding to our classrooms, and ensures rural, suburban and urban schools can thrive. At the same time, we've given parents, a.k.a. taxpayers, some control over their own income so they have more educational choices. We accomplished this in a way that doesn't touch public school funding. In fact, we've worked to make our public education budget the biggest and best in our state's history. Of that, I'm enormously pleased." – House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on Education Chair Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore
“Many of these reforms came from hours of discussions with hundreds of teachers, administrators, parents and education advocacy groups. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly on these measures and the end result will be improvements to our public education system and historic pay raises for teachers. These measures will keep us competitive with other states, while improving our ability to recruit and retain teachers. I appreciate everyone’s hard work on these valuable pieces of legislation.” – Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond
“I applaud the hard work and dedication by the negotiators in both the House and Senate, who met repeatedly for many hours to get to the finish line on the education plan. This slate of bills will have a positive, lasting impact on our education system in Oklahoma. As a retired educator, I am grateful to be part of this historic funding package that helps rural and urban schools, parents, teachers and provides needed safety measures to ensure our students are kept safe.” – former teacher Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee