Oklahoma Teachers To Go To Capitol For Pay Raise Vote

Friday, February 9th 2018, 7:14 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Hundreds of Oklahoma educators plan to miss school Monday so they can see the legislature vote on a teacher pay raise.

Voters will often approve money locally for new buildings, yet lawmakers in Oklahoma City consistently turn down funding for statewide teacher raises.

Monday, a large increase for teachers will go to a vote.

2/8/2018 Related Story: Step Up Oklahoma Budget Bills Pass House Committee

"We are asking them to approve the Step Up Oklahoma plan and approve the $5,000 teacher pay raise that we desperately need to keep teachers here," said Shawna Mott-Wright with Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.

Shawna Mott-Wright is a teachers union rep, and a public school parent, waiting to see what happens Monday at the capitol.

Lawmakers will consider new taxes that would pay for teacher raises - the first substantial, across the board, raises teachers would see in a decade.

"That's how long it's been since we had a raise, 10 years, and it would take $6,000 to give me the same buying power I had 10 years ago, so when you adjust for inflation, $5,000 doesn't even get me to break even, but it's a step in the right direction," Mott-Wright said. 

Monday's meeting at the capitol is not the kind of education rally held a couple of years ago, when thousands of teachers converged outside.

This will be smaller, and more focused on the raise instead of other education policy.

Step Up Oklahoma Plan:

  • $5,000 for Teacher Salaries
  • Increase to minimum salary
  • New Taxes to offset pay increase

Teachers will meet as lawmakers consider elements of the "Step Up Oklahoma" plan, including a $5,000 to the minimum teacher salary - and the new taxes that would pay for it.

The Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association expects to have 100 people going to Oklahoma City, whole teachers statewide pay close attention.

"Morale is at an all-time low, and I mean all time because I'm not just a teacher, I'm a teachers kid and I've never seen anything like it in my life," Mott-Wright said.

The teachers will hold a rally just before the lawmakers start debate, which should be about 1:30 Monday afternoon.