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OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma State Senate voted on and approved two proposals today that would represent an historic investment that includes pay raises, school choice measures and local control.
Two bills totaling approximately $630 million were approved, sending the measures to the Senate floor. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bills Thursday.
The Senate’s education policy and appropriations committees met at the call of the pro tem. Meeting notices were distributed Friday, in compliance with the Senate’s 48-hour meeting notice requirement.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said the measures have been vetted, make common sense reforms and will put Oklahoma on the path to a better, more prosperous future.
“This legislation is the result of a collaborative effort, countless hours of work, conversations with educators and input from every member of our caucus,” said Pro Tem Treat. “We have done exhaustive due diligence in putting this together. We believe targeted and meaningful investments are the only way to put our education system on a better trajectory. This package incorporates ideas from various members of the Senate – in addition to the reforms we have already passed out of the senate. This package is the largest, targeted investment in education in state history and it shows that the Senate is here to support our educators, school districts, students and families.”
The Senate education plan includes the following:
Teacher Pay Raise – $248 million investment in state teachers
Each teacher will receive the following pay raise:
School Choice – $100 million investment in school choice (including an income cap)
Local Control – $30 million investment in qualitative pay by local school boards for raises for teachers who qualify based on criteria set by the school board
Today’s announcement comes in addition to the 44 other bills the Senate has passed and sent to the House. Those bills include measures that will reform public education, recruit and retain teachers and improve student outcomes.
“The bills that have already passed are what my colleagues have prioritized,” said Pro Tem Treat. “I applaud our members who have passed pro-family and life-affirming education measures like paid maternity leave, school safety to protect our kids, mentorship programs for teachers and many more. While we know the negotiations are continuously ongoing, I am extremely proud of our work and commend those who have worked together to send these pieces of legislation to our colleagues in the House. I hope they give these bills the consideration they deserve and make education reform a priority, just as we have.”
Other Senate measures sent to the House include the following:
Paid Maternity Leave
This pro-life measure ensures a new mother doesn’t have to choose between her teaching career and her family. If approved, new mothers would receive eight weeks of paid maternity leave.
Each school district is unique. This legislation gives schools the ability to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment by the Oklahoma School Security Institute. This will enable schools to have the best plan in place to protect their children. This will create a grant program for districts to address the issues identifed in the assessment.
Oklahoma Teacher Corps
The Oklahoma Teacher Corps Program aid teachers in the form of paying for tuition and fees for students who agree to teach for four years in a Title I school.
This measure gives a $500 annual stipend to mentor teachers to provide guidance to new teachers, whether they are just starting their careers or are new to the district.
Childcare for School Districts
This will create a pilot program to provide on-site childcare services to specific districts or provide stipends to employees to help cover childcare costs.
School districts will be given additional funding dedicated to pay for certifying teachers.