The State Senate has given final approval to two measures that will enhance the benefits of Oklahoma’s educators today, according to State Senator Kenneth Corn. Senate Bill 1134 and Senate Bill 1272 will both help to properly compensate retired and current teachers.
SB 1134 would provide for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for retired members of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma based upon the retirement benefit amount and the years of service of each retired member.
SB 1272 would provide for a salary increase schedule for teachers according to their higher education degree as well as their years of experience as a teacher. Teachers will receive yearly pay raises, ranging from $300 for starting teachers with a bachelor’s degree in the plan’s first year to $1,400 for teachers with a master’s degree and 15 years or more experience in the plan’s fifth year.
“This has been a very positive legislative session for Oklahoma’s educators. I am extremely pleased that both the retirement and the pay raise measures have received final Senate approval,” state the Democrat from Poteau. “Oklahoma’s teachers are extremely important to the success of our state. I believe it is time we give them the benefits they deserve and provide those who have already dedicated their life to teaching a much needed pay increase.”
SB 1134 will also provide COLA increases for many other retirement systems such as the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, the Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges, the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System, and the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.
Senator Corn stated that “Oklahoma’s public servants ensure the safety and protection of our citizens on a daily basis. Those whom are now retired deserve boost in their retirement benefits for their many years of service and dedication to their duties.”
SB 1272 falls under Governor Henry's five year plan to increase teacher's salary to the national average. The National Education Association ranked Oklahoma educator’s salaries ranked 48th nationally and SB 1272 will work over the next five years to improve the national ranking.
“This plan will not only keep our new teachers in the state, but it will prevent our more experienced teachers from moving to neighboring states,” stated Senator Corn. “Oklahoma’s teacher certification process has been nationally acclaimed and I want to do everything possible to ensure that our teacher’s stay here to further enhance our education system. SB 1272 will not only provide Oklahoma teachers with a pay increase, but will also guarantee an annual increase.”
“I am more than pleased that these two important measures have received final passage in the Senate and will now go to the House of Representatives to clear the final legislative hurdle.”