teacher pay

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group wanting to raise gross production taxes is gearing up after the failure of Step Up Oklahoma.

Restore Oklahoma Now is proposing State Question 795 to raise GPT to 7% which will bring in an extra $288 million with most of that going to common education.

Executive Director Mickey Thompson says he delayed pushing forward while Step Up Oklahoma worked its way through the State Capitol.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Updated Tuesday at 8:37 a.m.

A bill to raise revenue for the Step Up Oklahoma plan failed to get enough votes to pass the House yesterday. The measure received only 63 of the 76 yes votes needed for passage.

During debate, House Speaker Charles McCall admitted the bill wasn’t perfect, but it would fix the issues with the budget.

"A $5,000 teacher pay raise, certainty with our health care, funding for our infrastructure ― these are clearly things that the people of the state of Oklahoma sent us to this chamber to take care of on their behalf."

As Oklahoma lawmakers deal with the current legislative session, they are also still holding a special session.

Legislative leaders are hoping to get bills heard in committee this week. The bills, crafted on recommendations from the business coalition Step Up Oklahoma, would raise taxes and create reforms in state government.

Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols says he’s hearing one main theme from lawmakers and constituents alike.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Governor Mary Fallin urged lawmakers to find compromise and steer clear of budgetary and legislative chaos in her final State of the State address at the Oklahoma capitol on Monday. The speech laid out a number of Fallin's priorities for the legislative session.

The Economist looks at education in Oklahoma, where teacher pay is low and budgets have been cut 28.2% since 2008, the biggest reduction in the country.

OKLAHOMA STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The State Department of Education surveyed thousands of former teachers about why they left the profession, and what it would take to get them back. The survey results, released Monday, suggest most quit because of low pay.

When asked the open-ended question, “Why did you quit teaching in Oklahoma Public Schools?” 34 percent of respondents cited pay or a better opportunity.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the Governor's threat to veto any budget bill in the second special session which doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, the Oklahoma Education Association releases a poll showing support in Oklahoma for a teacher pay raise and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association challenges the constitutionality of an initiative petition to increase taxes on oil and gas wells to fund education.

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association on Wednesday filed two separate state Supreme Court challenges to a proposed state question that would ask voters to end industry discounts and impose a broad 7 percent tax on oil and gas production to fund teacher pay raises and early childhood education.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mickey Thompson has a manila envelope tucked under his arm as he walks towards the Oklahoma Capitol. If the paperwork doesn’t start a fight, it almost certainly will add fuel to one.

Inside the envelope is the handiwork of about 10 people over a couple of months that could clear a path for Oklahoma voters to do something most lawmakers won’t consider: Enact broad tax hikes on oil and gas production to help fund public education.

StateImpact Oklahoma

2017 is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact are following many important government policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation edited for clarity:

HEALTH

Joe Wertz: Give me the big picture for the new year.

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