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Oklahoma teachers union seeks more funding

Posted: 7:37 AM, Dec 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-20 13:37:51Z

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Latest on a state panel certifying more than $600 million in additional funding for Oklahoma's budget (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

The state's largest teachers union is asking Oklahoma lawmakers for more than $400 million in additional funding, mostly for bigger raises for teachers and support personnel.

The Oklahoma Education Association announced their budget proposal on Wednesday, just hours after a state panel certified a record $8.2 billion in revenue available for lawmakers to spend next year. That's an increase of about $612 million over the current year.

OEA President Alicia Priest says the union is seeking an additional $3,000 raise for teachers, a $2,500 boost for support personnel and $150 million for school operations. The OEA also wants an 8 percent cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers.

Oklahoma teachers received an average pay hike of $6,100 this year, but walked off the job anyway in the spring seeking more money for schools.

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1:20 p.m.

Oklahoma's new governor says he's glad the state's economy is rebounding, but he cautioned lawmakers and agency leaders that a $612 million surplus is "not a blank check."

Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt made the comments on Wednesday after the state's Board of Equalization certified a record $8.2 billion in revenue available for lawmakers to spend on next year's budget. That represents an increase of about $612 million over the current year's spending levels.

The Republican businessman says transforming the operation of state government will be a top priority, and he intends to ask the Legislature for more power to hire and fire agency directors.

Stitt says he also wants to see an increase in the cap on the state's Rainy Day Fund to $2 billion to help prepare for a downturn.

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11:10 a.m.

Oklahoma lawmakers and the state's new governor are expected to have hundreds of millions of new dollars to spend after years of budget crises that led to slashed spending for public schools and other services.

A state budget panel led by outgoing Gov. Mary Fallin approved a record $8.2 billion Wednesday that will be available to spend on next year's budget. That represents an increase of about $612 million and is expected to trigger an avalanche of funding requests from cash-strapped state agencies.

Republicans and Democrats are pushing for more money for public schools, and the state's largest teachers union is asking for more money for support personnel and school operations.

Other agencies, including Oklahoma's prison system and higher education, also are seeking big boosts in spending.

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9:30 a.m.

After years of budget crises in Oklahoma that led to slashed spending for public schools and other services, lawmakers and the state's new governor are expected to have hundreds of millions of new dollars to spend.

A state budget panel led by outgoing Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to approve on Wednesday a record $8.2 billion available to spend on next year's budget. That represents an increase of about $612 million and is expected to trigger an avalanche of funding requests from cash-strapped state agencies.

Republicans and Democrats are pushing for more money for public schools, and the state's largest teachers union is asking for more money for support personnel and school operations.

Other agencies, including Oklahoma's prison system and higher education, also are seeking big boosts in spending.

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