TPS Superintendent responds to teacher pay raise package

Oklahoma teachers have confirmed they are still due to walk out of the classroom next Monday despite the state Senate voting last night on an emergency package to give them a pay raise.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill Thursday with a $6,100 pay increase for teachers.

Inspired by the successful teachers' strike in West Virginia earlier this month that won a five percent raise, the teachers in Oklahoma have for weeks been threatening a walkout if legislators fail to come up with a solution for their state's education woes.

But the money may not be enough to satisfy the demands of Oklahoma's teachers, who rank among the worst paid in the United States and had been planning a strike for next week. Arizona teachers also are boosting efforts to organize and may follow. The measure has been described as "the largest teacher pay raise in the history of the state", according to CNN.

Oklahoma ranks 49th for teacher pay in the United States, with a starting wage of only $31,600.

Oklahoma teachers, who have not had a raise since 2007, have set a statewide walkout for Monday to pressure lawmakers. The union has demanded a $10,000 pay raise for teachers over three years, $5,000 for support personnel and a $75 million increase in funding, and the package approved by the House would not be enough to satisfy all of their demands.

"It has been an unmitigated disaster, and it's now coming home to roost on all those folks who blindly cut taxes, not caring how that was going to impact communities", said Garcia.

The House already passed the plan to increase taxes on cigarettes, fuel, lodging, and oil and gas production.

The House already approved the package, which is created to generate about 450-million-dollars for teacher raises and other spending. The group is considering launching a signature drive to overturn any major tax hikes signed by the governor. She said educators will "descend on the Capitol" during a walkout Monday. It's not flawless and more is needed, but it is the best we are going to get right now. "This advocacy can and must continue, but it is not all that is needed to reverse a decade of student growth that has outpaced funding for public education".

At one of the city's busiest intersections, 6th and Western, roughly 40 Stillwater public schools teachers and students waved signs as passing motorists tapped their vehicle and truck horns in seeming approval.

"It's only half of the teacher raise asked, one-quarter of the school funding asked, and two-fifths of the support staff funding asked", Morejon said Thursday on the Facebook page.