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Lawmakers unsure if new bills in future for Oklahoma teachers

Posted: 6:33 PM, Apr 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-05 16:27:42-04

The governor signed a large education budget bill Tuesday night, but it wasn't nearly enough for what teachers said they needed.
 
Outside every lawmakers office is a piece of paper taped to the window which reads whether or not they voted “yes.”
 
“We expected many of the groups to come up and say thank you for passing the pay raise and to please remember we need money for the classrooms," Majority Caucus Chair Gary Stanisawski said.
 
Last year, the education budget was $2.4 billion. This year, it's $2.9 billion.
 
Breaking it down:
-$353 million for teacher's pay
- $33 million for textbooks
- about $25 million for health care
- $52 million for support staff
- $17 million for state aid

"We have over 700,000 kids in schools," Democrat Monroe Nichols said. "Public schools touch every kid and every family in the state and I think it’s a worth while investment.”
 
A bill signed and sealed by Governor Mary Fallin Tuesday, lawmakers seem to think that nothing else is coming down the pipe.
 
“We can’t fix everything in one year," Stanisawski said. "We’ve gone through two recessions in our state and the finances have just not been there. Teachers now recognize that we have the ability to get things done, so they’re trying to press us to actually get it done.”
 
"My kids were on SoonerCare and they were denied last night because we make $600 too much a month," Prague teacher Brandy Smitth said. "Now, my own children have no health insurance, . so what do I do if my 10-year-old gets leukemia?”

With no end in sight as teachers left the capitol, lawmakers are patting themselves on the back for one thing.
 
"We were 48th in the nation in teacher salaries, now we are 28th in the nation," Stanisawski said.

 

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