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Education budget gets mixed reviews, but many teachers are optimistic

Education budget getting mixed reviews
Posted at 5:21 PM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 19:33:53-04

TULSA, Okla. — This year's budget gives about a $200 million increase to public education across the board. That compares to about $50 million last year.

The boost to public ed gives about an additional $190 for every student. In districts like Union, teachers are hoping to improve technology.

"Some great apps for these guys to use and our students to use with their new laptops. It means more technology for us that we can use to reach a 21st Century learner," Union High School teacher Jim Douthat said.

Districts will also put a $1200 teacher pay raise into their funding formula, giving a boost to 97 percent of educators. Next year they're pushing for support staff to see the same recognition.

"They do not make a living wage. It's really pathetic and we couldn't do it without them. These are our bus drivers, teaching assistants, our secretaries, our custodians, our cafeteria workers and the list just goes on and on," Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association vice president Shawna Mott-Wright said.

Some teachers said instead of saving $200 million, more money could have gone to classrooms. But others tell 2 Works for You budget problems started because of overspending.

"Could we have spent $100 million more on education? Sure. We could have done the same thing for DHS, we could have done the same thing for prison systems... any of those other needed organizations out there," Douthat said.

As far as becoming top 10, Douthat is hopeful the budget is progress.

"I think we're getting there. Let's not get carried away. Let's get ourselves into the 40s... comfortably into the 40s and into the 30s first," he said.

Multiple teachers said the biggest priority for funding is bringing down class sizes and adding counselors.

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