Senator Mike Morgan
P resident Pro Tempore
Senate District 21
Payne, Logan and Lincoln Counties
For Immediate Release:
January 10, 2006
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater,
and Appropriations Subcommittee on
Education Chairman Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, explain Democratic
Senate Education Chairman Susan Paddack, D-Ada, discusses
Senate Democrats Announce Bold Funding Plan for Public Schools
Senate Democrats today announced a bold $200 million
education plan that includes a $3,000 across-the-board salary increase
for Oklahoma’s public schools teachers.
The plan was presented Tuesday by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike
Morgan, Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education Chairman Stratton
Taylor and Senate Education Committee Chairman Susan
Paddack in a State Capitol Press Conference.
In addition to the largest teacher pay increase in seven years,
the Democrats’ proposal includes:
• Quality Instruction Pay for the state’s best educators;
• An increase in funding for early childhood programs for
children with special needs;
• Up to $15 million in funding for an innovative pilot program
for additional early childhood programs;
• And additional monies to be placed in the school funding
“This proposal accelerates the work we have done in the last
two years to improve the education system in Oklahoma. It’s
more than just taking the next step toward reaching the regional
average. It’s time for public schools in Oklahoma to take
a giant leap forward and that’s what we’re proposing
with this plan,” said Morgan, D-Stillwater.
Oklahoma began an effort two years ago to raise teacher salaries
to the regional average. Senate Democrats said Tuesday that effort
needs a substantial boost.
“It’s overdue, and if we are ever going to have a chance
to reach the regional average this program must be adopted, and
I call on Democrats and Republicans to embrace the $3000 across-the-board
salary increase so it will be a bipartisan program,” said
Morgan noted that Oklahoma has been engaged in 15 years of classroom
reforms, beginning with the passage of House Bill 1017. A national
study released last week rated Oklahoma above the national average
for holding schools accountable for their performance.
The study ranked Oklahoma’s teachers among the nation’s
best, but the Senate Democrats noted that teacher pay in Oklahoma
is among the worst in the country. Increasing teacher salaries is
an important element in improving the state’s education system,
the Senators said.
The Democrats’ plan will also reward Oklahoma’s best
trained and most qualified teachers with Quality Instruction Pay.
The plan calls for increasing the amount paid to teachers who pass
the rigorous national board certification tests each year from $5000
to $7500 in Fiscal Year 2006. In Fiscal Year 2007, the bonus would
increase to $10,000.
“We want to reward those teachers who are nationally board
certified and this plan for merit pay is an objective criteria for
measuring,” said Senator Taylor, Senate President Pro Tempore
The plan also calls for a pilot program of Quality Instruction Pay
for educators similar to the one Denver voters adopted in November.
Early childhood education would receive up to $15 million in additional
funding that would be matched dollar for dollar by private funds
in an innovative pilot program.
“Study after study shows that if you want to make a difference
in children from high risk homes, you do it in the early years,”
Paddack said. “If we really are serious about attacking some
of our greatest social problems, we have to do it in the early years
when children are in high risk homes.
For more information contact:
President Pro Tempore's Office - (405) 521-5605