Teacher pay raise idea draws praise

The authors of legislation to provide salary increases averaging $5,000 for Oklahoma public school teachers echoed Gov. Mary Fallin’s comments in her State of the State address.

“I greatly appreciate Gov. Fallin for bringing more attention to the issue of increasing compensation for Oklahoma’s quality classroom teachers,” said state Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie. “Too many of our best teachers have left the classroom. We need to address this problem this session without increasing taxes, and we can do it, even with the budget picture being we’re facing.”

“This year’s state budget conversation will have an emphasis on priorities, and Oklahomans statewide believe paying quality teachers a competitive salary is a top priority,” said state Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette. “We’ve proposed average salary increases of $5,000 without increasing taxes, and we remain committed to that goal. Too many Oklahomans have lost their jobs in the past year, and increasing taxes would make the problem worse.”

Both Sen. Griffin and Rep. Cockroft have filed vehicles for their proposal to increase teacher salaries: Senate Bill 1422 and House Bill 3129.