House Democrats Call for Clean Teacher Pay Bill

Apr 04, 2023
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OKLAHOMA CITY –The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus on Thursday expressed support for a bipartisan proposal, initiated by Senate Republicans, to fund a teacher pay raise without entangling it with the contentious issue of private school vouchers.

Democrats urged that teacher pay discussions be separated from the politically charged private school voucher debate.

“Oklahoma teachers face numerous challenges,” said Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater. “My concern is that the Legislature's egos and politics will hinder our bipartisan efforts to build and retain a robust teacher corps.”

Ranson also proposed an amendment to double the graduated teacher pay raises in Senate Bill 482, by Republicans Sen. Adam Pugh and Rep. Mark McBride. The Ranson amendment would increase teacher pay by:

  • $6,000 for teachers in their first through fourth year (up from $3,000 in the original bill); 
  • $8,000 for teachers in their fifth through ninth year (up from $4,000 in the original bill); 
  • $10,000 for teachers in their 10th through 14th year (up from $5,000 in the original bill);
  • $12,000 for teachers with 15 years + of service (up from $6,000 in the original bill)

She emphasized the importance of a clean vote on the amended teacher pay bill.

“Teacher pay raises have consistently received bipartisan support,” Ranson said. “Let's capitalize on this backing and make Oklahoma attractive to top-tier teachers within our state and beyond.”

Ranson expressed interest in utilizing a portion of the $300 million from the Republican House Voucher Plan to cover the increased cost of the historic pay raises her amendment calls for.

"Democrats are committed to voting on a clean teacher pay bill. This amendment is a game changing opportunity for public education" said Rep. Melissa Provenzano D-Tulsa. "The proposed vouchers, claiming to promote school choice, don't provide funding for new students but merely cover current private school attendees. It’s a flawed approach that neglects the educational improvement of 700,000 Oklahoma public school students. By redirecting these funds to our teachers, we can substantially enhance our children's education and support Oklahoma educators."


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