Governor Fallin Signs School Funding Bill
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - Governor Mary Fallin signed the $2.9 billion appropriation bill for common education for the upcoming 2019 fiscal year Tuesday afternoon.
According to a news release from her office, the funding authorized in House Bill 3705 is a 19.7 percent increase over the $2.4 billion appropriation bill for K-12 public education for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
The governor's office says this is only the second time legislators approved an appropriation bill for public schools by the April 1 education funding deadline since 2003, when the requirement was put in place.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education says HB 3705 establishes a new baseline for education funding.
HB 3705 includes $353.5 million for teacher pay, $52 million for support personnel pay, $33 million for textbooks: $17 million for the state aid formula; and $24.7 million for flex health care benefits.
The total increase in common education funding for the 2019 fiscal year is $480.2 million.
The Oklahoma Education Association has said the increase in funding is not enough, and went ahead with its statewide teacher walkout on Monday, which continued today.
Governor Fallin also signed HB 1026XX on Tuesday, which provides a $1,250 annual increase in pay for school support personnel.
She also signed HB 1024XX, which provides a tiered pay raise for state employees. State workers earning $40,000 or less would get a $2,000 raise; those making $40,000 to $50,000 would get a $1,500 raise and those making $50,000 - $60,000 would get a $1,000 raise. Those earning $60,000 or more would get a $750 raise.
All three measures take effect July 1, the start of the state’s 2019 fiscal year.
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest released the following statement about the governor signing House Bill 3705 today:
“Tens of thousands of educators, parents and community members are showing up at the capitol every day because they are overwhelmed by classrooms with more students than desks, duct-taped text books, and schools that are only heated to 60 degrees. This legislation falls well short of fixing those problems. These measures leave millions in revenue on the table and still leave Oklahoma students among the worst funded in the nation.”