Oklahoma teachers may get another pay raise


    Oklahoma teachers may get another pay raise (KTUL)<p>{/p}

    Oklahoma teachers may get another pay raise. The House passed legislation to give them $1,200 more a year, and now, it's moved to the state Senate.

    Teachers from several districts say they are all grateful for a little extra money; they also say it's a nice step but it isn't going to change their lives; they note that their schools have other needs in addition to teachers' pay.

    They also note that their schools have other needs in addition to teachers' pay.

    Erica Oliverez is a 6-year veteran who's teaching at the Northwoods Fine Arts Academy in Sand Springs.

    She'd be happy to have an additional raise, but says it's not a game changer because a lot of her pay comes back to the classroom.

    "Everything in here was purchased by us, the teachers. They don't give us any of these materials. They give us tables, chairs, and curriculum, but everything else, we use everything you see in the room was purchased by me or another teacher," said Oliverez.

    A new raise would end up being about $75 a month after taxes, and she says they spends more than that on supplies every month. They try to put the kids first.

    All the teachers worry about better funding for classroom equipment and facilities.

    "We like the raises, but really, our schools need to be funded for the kids; they deserve better schools. So, a lot of that $1,200 is going to go to me buying things for them so they can have activities and experiments," said Jennifer Watkins, a kindergarten teacher.

    They're also concerned about the support staff who are necessary for any school to function.

    The principal says the support staff deserve recognition and appreciation too.

    "They don't make very much, and they are the core of our schools. The lunch ladies, the paras, the teachers' assistants... all those people help us run day to day, we couldn't do it without them," said Laura Hamilton, Northwood's principal.

    Back in the kindergarten wing, they feel good about the overall progress, but as for $55,000 a year teaching jobs in Texas they'll still have a lot of appeal.

    "It's $20,000 a year more, so money makes a difference," said Watkins.

    A lot of area teachers like her are now in the upper 30s, but with places like Fort Worth and Denton paying in the mid 50s, it's still tempting.

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