Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks released the following statement on Senate passage of a revenue package to fund teacher pay raises:
“The votes in the Senate tonight were an important step, but this should be the beginning of our efforts, not the end.
“I want to thank the education community who made these votes possible. Thousands of teachers, school support staff, administrators, school board members, parents, students, and concerned citizens have organized for many weeks to mobilize a historic grassroots movement that pushed the legislature to act. The Senate Democrats stand with you and will continue to fight on your behalf.
“This is progress, but it should not be a one-time deal. Moving forward, we need to make sure that Oklahoma invests in education. This means we need sustainable revenues that will allow us to restore funding for our classrooms which has been cut for over a decade.
“We’re giving teachers a much deserved raise now, but we need to continue to improve teacher salaries in Oklahoma in coming years. We also need to continue working to provide much needed salary increases to school support personnel and state employees.
“The job is not done. We will continue working tomorrow and for the remainder of the legislative session to properly fund education in Oklahoma.”