Legislation

Status of teacher pay raise and education revenue bills after The Time Is NOW plan was released, as well as different proposals promoted and later abandoned.

ABANDONED:

3/14/2018: SB 133 & HB 1033

On 3/14 the Senate passed SB 133 for a 12.7% increase in the State Minimum Teacher Salary Schedule. The net increase would range ranges from 4,029 at BS Step 0 up to $5,865 at DR Step 25 for an overall average increase across steps and lanes of $4,902.

Sen. Daniels voted AYE on that measure.

HOWEVER, the Senate failed by 2 votes (34-12) to reach 75% approval on HB 1033 to fund that change.

That amended revenue measure included these new taxes:

  • $1/pack cigarette tax (towards teacher pay in year 1, healthcare fund after that)
  • 6ยข/gallon on diesel and gas
  • GPT raise from 2% to 4% on horizontal wells for 1st three years of production

Sen. Daniels also voted AYE on that measure.

So movement is starting. However, SB 133 is less than $5,000 average and our plan and the OEA plan both call for $6,000 across the board to address the teacher shortage. These bills included NO funding for school operations nor filling the state budget hole, including funding the Flexible Benefit Allowance to cover this next year's increase in individual teachers' health insurance premiums.

Critique: Does it address the interests?

  • Address the teacher shortage: is the teacher salary increase adequate?
  • Address the school funding crisis: is there a sufficiently large and flexible increase in school operational funding?
    • Non-existent: This legislation does nothing to address class sizes, textbooks, classroom supplies, eliminated electives, etc.
  • Address the state funding crisis: does the response fill the budget hole and adequately protect core services?
    • Inadequate: This legislation helps state employee pay, but does nothing to fill the budget hole to prevent yet another round of school and agency funding cuts. However, other legislation, such as the $120 million capital gains tax change recently passed by the Senate in SB 1086, would assist with that concern if targeted appropriately, but significant additional revenues would be needed to completely fill the $170 million budget hole.

ABANDONED:

POE's "60 in 6" Plan

In mid-March House Speaker McCall promoted the "60 in 6" plan from Professional Oklahoma Educators. Notably, he included no funding mechanisms for the six-year proposal.

POE made these claims about their plan:

  • Teachers with 20 or more years of experience would reach the top minimum level of $60,000 by the 2023-2024 school year, an increase of more than $20,000 or 50% from the current salary schedule for veteran teachers. These numbers do not include FICA & retirement benefits, which will be included in plan funding.
  • All teacher pay levels would increase by 5% in the 2018-2019 school year, the first year of the plan. The next year, teachers would see raises ranging from 9.82%-14.75% from the initial year, with overall raises of 34.18%-50.85% when the plan is fully in place after 6 years.
  • Entry level teachers in the 2018-2019 school year would start at a minimum of $33,180, which is a five-percent increase from the $31,600 pay in the current schedule. At six years their minimum salary would be $42,400 which equates to raises totaling $10,800 or 34.18%. These numbers do not include FICA & retirement benefits, which will be included in plan funding.
  • The plan will bring the Oklahoma teacher pay average with benefits to $57,295. Today's state average is $45,245. The regional average is $48,103.
  • The salary increases with benefits requires $114.2 million in funding the first year and a total of $706.3 million to fund the full six years.
  • Some school reforms are expected to be included in the legislation for successful passage in both houses.
  • The reforms are being negotiated with lawmakers.
  • The plan will shut down the exodus of teachers to other states and from the profession. The plan will help districts attract new teachers.

Critique: Does it address the interests?

  • Address the teacher shortage: is the teacher salary increase adequate?
    • Inadequate: An increase of only 5% for 2018-2019 is far too small to avert a teacher walkout. The pay increases would range from a small $1,580 increase in the starting salary up to $2,116 for the most experienced teachers.

Stretching the eventual sizable raises over six years has two significant weaknesses:

      • There is no proposed funding mechanism to steadily ratchet up new revenues over six years to cover the cost of the plan, which begin at a modest $114 million but reach over $700 million by year six. Given the legislature's track record on increasing taxes and keeping its promises, this is another "kick the can down the road" approach with little to recommend it UNLESS a dedicated revenue stream is identified and targeted, as was done in previous years for transportation and for pensions. It is telling that thus far no attempt has been made to identify a sustainable 6-year revenue stream for this plan.
      • Over six years, inflation will steadily erode the gains, so you can't equate a particular size of raise in six years to a similarly sized raise in 2018-19.
  • Address the school funding crisis: is there a sufficiently large and flexible increase in school operational funding?
    • Non-existent: This legislation does nothing to address class sizes, textbooks, classroom supplies, eliminated electives, etc.
  • Address the state funding crisis: does the response fill the budget hole and adequately protect core services?
    • Non-existent: This legislation does nothing to fill the budget hole to prevent yet another round of school and agency funding cuts.