Governor Kevin Stitt outlined his plans for the future of Oklahoma in his first State of the State address on Monday.
With a focus on criminal justice reform and digital modernization of state agencies, the governor also stressed the importance of education. In his budget, Stitt asked for more than $ 70 million for a salary increase for teachers.
"Given recent revenue growth, I call on the Legislature to put our teachers at the forefront of our region's wages and benefits," said Stitt. "That's an increase of $ 1,200 per teacher."
Stitt also asked the Legislature to allocate $ 5 million to a teacher recruitment bonus program.
Many teachers say they are optimistic about the vision presented by the governor, but they fear that this is not enough to move the needle.
"Being number one in the region, the $ 1,200 will not be enough," said Katherine Bishop, vice president of the Oklahoma Education Association. "That's why we're asking for $ 3,000 salary increases for teachers."
OEA is also asking for a salary increase for support professionals, as well as an additional $ 150 million for the classroom.
"This will help us reduce the number of students per class, hire more teachers and restore deleted programs," she said.
Democrats have also criticized Stitt's proposal for doing nothing to increase funding for the class or spending per student. Many teachers said that was the point of departure last year, in April.
"I think a lot of teachers would say that I do not want to raise pay this year, I would prefer that you put money in the formula because I need textbooks I need material, all of these things, "said Emily, leader of the minority in the House. Virgin, D-Norman.
They say that it is the beginning of a long process during this session to find the best way to solve these problems.
"We are very optimistic," Bishop said. "Our lawmakers have made noble aspirations to help improve the education of Oklahoma State in the field of education and we are delighted to work with them."
Public Superintendent of Education, Joy Hofmeister, made this statement about the Stitt Teachers 'salary increase proposal: "We congratulate Governor Stitt on his commitment to increase teachers' salaries at the highest level in the region.Competitive compensation at the regional level is one of the important steps public education in Oklahoma to reach the top 10. The governor and I share this goal and we are looking forward to associate with him and the Legislature for the benefit of Oklahoma schoolchildren. "