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House Speaker unveils '60 in 6' teacher pay raise plan

House Speaker Charles McCall announces a plan for teacher pay raises March 15. (KOKH/Jordann Lucero)

The Speaker of the Oklahoma House has announced a six-year teacher pay plan ahead of an impending teacher walkout.

Speaker Charles McCall was joined by House legislators and Professional Oklahoma Educators to announce the "60 in 6" plan. The plan would cost $114 million to implement in the first year.

"The most important issue we are focused on is a teacher pay raise," McCall said. "The State of Oklahoma needs a transformational plan. A plan with vision. Something that gets behind rhetoric...that actually materializes."

All six steps of the plan would cost the state over $700 million but could be funded year by year. When fully implemented, the plan would raise starting teacher salary in Oklahoma to $42,400. For teachers with 25 plus years of experience, it would bring their salaries to $60,000, or a nearly 50 percent pay raise.

"We need to honor teachers that have dedicated their lives," McCall said.

McCall stated that the plan could be funded through many pathways, but did not specify one path.

The Oklahoma Education Association has given lawmakers until April 1 to meet their demands. They are asking lawmakers to give teachers a $10,000 raise and support staff a $5,000 raise. They would also like legislators to restore $200 million to public school funding which has been cut from the budget since 2008. The group would also like to see $213 million for state employee pay raises over three years and $255.9 million in health care funding over the next two years.

OEA President Alicia Priest said McCall's plan "is not a plan at all".

"It's nothing more than a political stunt that falls woefully short of the revenue needed to save our schools and keep teachers in Oklahoma classrooms," Priest said in a statement. "Time is ticking, April 2nd will be here before you know it. We suggest lawmakers get back to work."

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