OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Teachers would get a pay raise of more than 21 percent over five years under one of a series of salary proposals to be considered by the state Board of Education at its next meeting.
``We have to look at compensation in this state,'' State Superintendent Sandy Garrett said. ``It is the No. 1 problem in retaining a quality work force. We are in a very competitive environment.''
One proposal calls for teachers, counselors and library specialists to get a 4.25 percent increase each year beginning in 2003 and continuing through 2007, said Hariott LaGrone, Oklahoma State Department of Education director of state aid. The raises would cost the state $84 million the first year, she said.
Principals and superintendents would not receive raises under that proposal.
The raises would bring Oklahoma teachers' salaries in line with the regional average by 2007, LaGrone said.
In 1999, Oklahoma's average teacher salary was $32,783 _ the lowest among Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.
The three other proposals call for raising the minimum teacher salary 3 percent, 5 percent or 7 percent, LaGrone said.
A 3 percent increase in the minimum salary schedule would result in $812 increases for teachers with no experience and $1,086 raises for teachers with 25 years' experience, she said.
A 3 percent increase would cost the state $51 million.
A 5 percent increase, which would cost the state $85 million, would mean raises from $1,353 to $1,809 for teachers with bachelor's degrees.
A 7 percent increase would cost the state $119 million and would mean raises between $1,894 and $2,533.
Teachers received an across-the-board $3,000 raise in the fall of 2000, LaGrone said.
The date of the next State Board of Education meeting has not been set.