Gov. Mary Fallin, flanked by bipartisan legislators and joined by public school teachers, signed three bills on Thursday that are part of an historic revenue package to fund pay raises for teachers. Kansas lawmakers had enough a year ago, voting to raise taxes over Gov. Sam Brownback's (R) veto, and on Wednesday night, Oklahoma lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that will generate $450 million in new revenue from a $1-a-pack surcharge on cigarettes, increasing the gas tax by 3 cents and 6 cent for diesel, and raising taxes on oil and gas production to 5 percent, from 2 percent. It is created to generate about $450 million for lawmakers to spend.
Just moments after the Oklahoma Senate passed the bill late Wednesday, she said: "We finally got the job done, and I applaud the bipartisanship of the House and Senate".
Those tax increases on tobacco, gas, diesel fuel and the gross production tax will go into effect August 1.
But while this may have been a victory, as the law will offer an average of $6,000 pay increase for all teachers, many educators are still planning on going on a strike.
Oklahoma politicians are so scared of the upcoming teacher strike that they just passed legislation to fund a partial raise through taxes.
The state's largest teachers union has demanded a $10,000 pay raise over three years, $5,000 raises for school support staff and $75 million in restored funding for school's operation budgets. West Virginia educators won a 5 percent pay hike after going on strike. The state's largest teachers union is organizing the walkout and rally.
Bartlesville: If Fallin signs the bill, a majority of teachers will not walkout. But, that won't be enough to avert a planned teacher walkout next week. Oklahoma teachers haven't had a raise in a decade of Republican control and they won raises of between 15 and 18 percent.
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At 47th, Oklahoma ranks poorly in public school revenue per student, which is $3,000 per year.
Cameron school staff also posted a notice to Facebook, stating that although teachers are encouraged by the work legislators have done, "We feel that the current plan does not place enough emphasis on one of the most important issues, which is the funding of our students". For example, certified teachers with 25 years experience could see their pay increase by almost $8,000 to top out at $51,232, according to a budget analysis.
"You're saying this isn't about teacher raises?" School will resume for the district on Wednesday. "Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students", she wrote. "We don't know any of the information about the students, but some are probably Cherokee", McGavock said.
Cobb reported Friday that 93 percent of about 1,000 teachers and other workers he polled said they wanted to walk out on Monday and 83 percent "thought we should stay out of school beyond Monday".
"Lawmakers, I want you to make education a priority", said Lehew.
"West Virginia woke us up", Arizona Educators Association President Joe Thomas told a cheering crowd at a protest this week in Phoenix.
Coburn announced his support of an anti-tax group Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite.