House Speaker Charles McCall and House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen released the following statements Monday (March 28) after the House of Representatives passed a package of revenue measures that would fund pay raises for teachers, school support staff and state employees and provide additional money for the classrooms. The plan provides first-year teachers with a $5,000 pay raise and increases from there based upon experience. A teacher with a doctorate and 25 years of experience would receive an $8,300 pay raise under this plan.
“Today, the House of Representatives passed a true bipartisan solution to one of the major problems we are facing as a state,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “This plan was developed with input from both Republican and Democrat leadership. It is not a perfect plan, but inaction is simply not an option; it is time to move Oklahoma forward. House Republicans have been negotiating in good faith with House Democrats, the Senate and the Governor’s Office for well over a year in search of a bipartisan solution that would increase our teachers’ pay and put more money into the classroom.
“These negotiations take time, and the three-fourths majority requirement in our state Constitution means we had to find a true compromise deal that would bring 76 votes in support. It has been exceedingly difficult, but Oklahomans expect us to solve problems. Within the last several days, we have been able to find a compromise and breakthrough the stalemate.
“There have been a lot of tough votes taken over the last year in search of a solution, and I commend the members of the House for their perseverance to move this plan one step closer to the finish line. We voted together to build a better and stronger Oklahoma.”
“This is a monumental step in providing a better path forward for both our schools and our state,” said Leader Kouplen, D-Beggs. “We look forward to continue the dialogue that helped this bipartisan plan progress.”