New State Budget Approved But Some Say More Can Be Done
Oklahoma lawmakers have a state budget, that totals $8.3 million. It includes raises for state workers, funding for roads and bridges, and raises for teachers.
Governor Kevin Stitt said this is the first time in state history teachers are getting a raise for the second year in a row. And while the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association said they are happy with the increase, they said more needs to be done.
Governor Kevin Stitt said the 2020 budget deal will include a more than $200 million increase for public education. Nearly $160 million will go toward education funding and teacher pay raises.
"That will require school districts on the funding formula to give an average of about $1,220 per teacher in the teacher pay raise," said Governor Kevin Stitt during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
The Governor also said there will be more than $70 million for districts to spend in classrooms however they see fit.
He also urged schools that don't take state money, to give about 1,300 teachers a raise as well.
“I strongly urge the superintendents, the school boards to also give them a pay raise this is critically important as we continue to move the narrative and the dialogue that Oklahoman's value education," said Governor Stitt.
And while many teachers are pleased with the increase, some said more still needs to be done.
"We started if it's like a race we started so far behind we have a lot more work to do yet. I'm glad we are doing it, but I would like to take bigger strides," said Shawna Mott-Wright, Vice President of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.
House Minority leader Emily Virgin (D) responded to the budget.
“State agencies were brutally impacted by Republican cuts over the past decade. This budget fails to make these agencies, including the state department of education, whole," she said.
Others wanted to see Support Professionals like cafeteria workers and custodians get a raise.
"We can’t say yay we did a little and then turn around and continue with the bad decisions for over a decade that got us in this mess," said Mott-Wright.
According to numbers by the House of Representatives, with this budget, the legislature has increased the common education budget by 26% over the past two years.
The plan is expected to pass through the full house and senate.
You Can Read Responses From the Minority Leader and State School Board Association Below