OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister plans to include a teacher pay raise in the annual budget request the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will present to the state board of education.
Hofmeister, who is also running for governor against incumbent Kevin Stitt, is seeking a $5,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers.
“We’ve significantly raised teacher pay in recent years, but so did our neighboring states with whom we are competing. This investment is vital to our ability to build a sustainable teacher workforce, necessary for providing the high-quality education Oklahoma students need and deserve,” said Hofmeister. “In the midst of an unprecedented and worsening teacher shortage, it is imperative we look for long-term solutions to show that Oklahoma values and respects its teachers.”
There are currently 52,850 certified teachers in Oklahoma. It's estimated that it will require $310 million to fully fund the teacher pay raise.
Oklahoma currently ranks fourth in the region for teacher pay with an average annual salary of $54,096, trailing New Mexico ($54,256), Texas ($57,090) and Colorado ($57,706).
State education officials note that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has recently signed legislation that will boost teacher salaries by an additional $10,000.
Fox 25 reached out to the governors office for reaction. The Communications Director for Gov. Stitt, Carly Atchison, sent Fox 25 this statement:
From his first year in office when he worked with the legislature to deliver a $1,200 pay raise, to this year’s proposal to pay those in the classroom six figure salaries, Governor Stitt has been a tireless advocate for getting Oklahoma teachers to be the highest paid in the region and looks forward to continuing that effort with the next state superintendent.
The OSDE will present its budget request to the state board of education on Sept. 22.
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