Anticipating Budget Surplus, Oklahoma Governor Proposes $1,200 Raise for Teachers

February 6, 2019 AT 7:05 AM

By Associated Press

Oklahoma's new Republican governor told lawmakers Monday that he wants to use a projected budget surplus to give classroom teachers a $1,200, across-the-board raise that would make the state the best in the region for educators' pay and benefits.

Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his plan for spending about $8.2 billion and outlined his proposals in his first State of the State address to lawmakers to begin the 2019 legislative session. Among his ideas are putting more money into reserves, conducting performance audits of the largest state agencies and putting more cash into a fund the governor could use to close deals that would bring more jobs to the state.

His teacher pay plan would cost about $70 million annually and would be in addition to the average annual pay boost of $6,100 that teachers received last year before a statewide walkout over demands for more education spending .

Stitt says his vision for public education includes higher standards and more classroom money, "but we must first continue our investment in the teacher, because it's not programs, curriculum or resources that a student will remember," he said in prepared remarks. "The magic happens between the student and teacher in the classroom."

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