House Bill 1010XX, which was described as “the largest teacher pay raise in the history of the state” passed both the state House and Senate this week. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said she would sign the bill.
“I appreciate our lawmakers putting people over politics by approving this package of revenue measures to fund teacher pay raises as well as provide additional money for the classroom,” Fallin said in a statement Wednesday.
The Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union that represents nearly 40,000 members and school personnel, called the passage of the bill “a truly historic moment,” but one that remains “incomplete” according to its president Alicia Priest.
Teachers and school staff will walk off their jobs on Monday and descend on the state Capitol, she said in video comments posted on Facebook.
“While this is major progress, this investment alone will not undo a decade of neglect,” she said. “Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students.”
“This package doesn’t overcome shortfall caused by four-day weeks, overcrowded classrooms that deprive kids of the one-on-one attention they need. It’s not enough,” Priest said. “We must continue to push for more annual funding for our schools to reduce class size and restore more of the 28% of funds they cut from education over the last decade.”
The OEA had also called for $10,000 pay raises for teachers over the next three years and $5,000 pay raises for full-time support professionals such as custodians, secretaries, bus drivers and food service workers.
Arizona teachers: ‘I don’t want to strike, but I will.’
The color red was meant to convey their frustration which they say has reached a crisis level. Teachers have been wearing red shirts every Wednesday and encouraging supporters to do the same, according to the Arizona Education Association, which has 20,000 members who are teachers, counselors, bus drivers and retired educators.
Arizona ranks 43rd in the nation in teacher salaries, according to the National Education Association.
Teachers say they are overworked and underpaid. They want better pay and are encouraging each other to organize via social media. They’re hoping their very public display of frustration will pressure state leaders, such as Gov. Doug Ducey.
State Sen. John Kavanagh, the Appropriations Committee Chairman, told KNXV that tax increases to pay for K-12 education are off the table, as voters have opposed the idea in the past.
CNN’s Dave Alsup and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.