Editorial: Rogers’ plan for teacher salaries

Critics say conservatives have no plan to raise teacher salaries in Oklahoma but it just not true.

State Rep. Michael Rogers has a bill that would phase in a $6,000 teacher pay raise over three years and boost Oklahoma teachers to the highest paid in the region.

Rogers is the chairman of the House Common Education Committee said a phased-in approach would work.

House Bill 1114 would include a $1,000 pay raise for teachers during the 2017-18 school year, another $2,000 raise during the 2018-19 school year and a final $3,000 raise during the 2019-20 school year.

Here’s a little secret that is kept hidden by the liberal media – Oklahoma already has the third-highest statutory starting minimum teacher pay in the region. Rogers’ plan gives teachers the highest average teacher pay of surrounding states and would raise Oklahoma teacher pay from 48th in the nation to 27th based on recent data from the National Education Association (NEA).

When you factor in a low cost of living, Rogers’ plan would move Oklahoma to 13th in the nation for average annual teacher pay at $56,804 (adjusted for cost of living). Oklahoma’s cost of living ranks behind only Mississippi for the lowest in the nation.

Oklahomans want to see teacher pay rise. That has been stalled for years by school boards and superintendents who have grown administrative staffs while spending funds that should go to the classroom.

Rogers’ bill will work. It will be blasted by the teachers’ union, the liberal media and the Democrat leadership in the Legislature.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.