Oklahoma teachers union seeks more money

OEA hopes surplus will help fund raises and more

Oklahoma’s largest teachers union is asking state lawmakers for more than $400 million in additional funding, mostly for bigger raises for teachers and support personnel.

The Oklahoma Education Association announced their budget proposal on Wednesday, just hours after a state panel certified a record $8.2 billion in revenue available for lawmakers to spend next year. That’s an increase of about $612 million over the current year.

OEA President Alicia Priest says the union is seeking an additional $3,000 raise for teachers, a $2,500 boost for support personnel and $150 million for school operations. The OEA also wants an 8 percent cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers.

Oklahoma teachers received an average pay hike of $6,100 this year, but walked off the job anyway in the spring seeking more money for schools.

Some Republicans and Democratic lawmakers are also pushing for more money for public schools.

Oklahoma’s Governor-elect, Mike Stitt, has said he’s glad the state’s economy is rebounding, but he cautioned lawmakers and agency leaders that a $612 million surplus is “not a blank check.”

The new budget year begins July 1.