The Oklahoma Department of Education’s fiscal 2024 budget has been submitted to the State Board of Education. The budget, worth more than his $3 billion, was unanimously approved by the board on Thursday.
The bulk of the budget, more than $309 million, will go toward teacher salary increases.
If approved by Congress, Oklahoma teachers could get a $5,000 pay raise. Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister said teacher wage increases are critical to Oklahoma’s students and the growth of the state’s economy.
The current average teacher salary in Oklahoma is $54,096. The minimum starting salary is $36,601. The minimum starting salary for a PhD is $39,381.
A raise increases for every $5,000 of these.
At the start of the public comment period, Stacey Woolley of Tulsa Public Schools shared her concerns about current teacher salaries.
“The lack of funding for public education over the past few years has left teachers and support staff dependent on unions, boosting food pantry supplies and contacting local organizations to fill financial gaps,” it said. Mr Woolley said.
“Budgets reflect priorities,” says Hoffmeister.
Hoffmeister said investing in Oklahoma’s children is a priority.
“This is a budget that says, ‘We must invest in our children.’ Education is an investment, not an expense,” Hofmeister said.
Hoffmeister said the pay increase will help Oklahoma recruit and retain teachers.
“Additional funding for education,” said Hoffmeister. “This means schools can hire more people.”
“This bonus really helps keep important people in school, so we’re requesting an increase to ensure we’re fully funded for the coming year,” said Carolyn Thompson, director of government relations for the Oklahoma Department of Education. increase.
The last teacher pay increase was in 2018. Inflation Due to his cost, Mr. Woolley said the next raise is due for teachers.
“The consumer index is up 8.5% this year, completely negating teacher pay increases in 2018,” said Woolley.
Hoffmeister said he took the rising cost into account when making the budget.
“The other thing we see in this budget is rising costs. We have to be able to accommodate this rising cost. it won’t.”
The budget will be submitted to the Legislature at the beginning of the 2023 session.