Oklahoma teachers planning to strike

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Mar 11, 2006
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Yeah that pay scale technically exists, but is never actually paid out. I taught in OK from 2009-2014 and never once received a "step" increase. Some places may have been able to give them since, but I doubt that's true for the majority of districts.
I cannot speak for “majority of districts”. But it is a state minimum by year. I would hope districts are following it.
 
Oct 30, 2007
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41,000 teachers wanting 10k is over 400,000,000.

Good luck with that.
It will blow you away if you start totaling up the total cost of the OEA demands. The most recent number I can find of total teachers is 41,775. A $10K raise per teacher would come out to $417,750,000.

They also want a $5K raise for all support professionals. I'm not sure the total number, but this includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teacher aides, janitors ect. Their website says they make up over 40% of the Oklahoma school workforce. Meeting this demand would probably cost another $200 million or more.

I haven't seen any cost analysis done on the other demands of retirement increases and restored funding, but my best guess is it would cost $700 to $800 million dollars annually to meet all of the OEA demands.

West Virginia gave their teachers a 5% raise. That was the largest raise in the history of their state. It will add $80 million per year to their education system. The OEA is essentially demanding 10X that amount from our state.

I would love to see our state find a way to make it happen, but I'm not sure it's financially feasible. Last year we collected a total of $441M in gross production tax. Even if raising the initial tax rate on new wells increased that number by 50%, we would still be around half a billion dollars short. Not to mention the fact that if the price of crude oil drops, that extra money will disappear because no one will be drilling new wells.
 
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Sep 22, 2009
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Bixby
Not to turn a corner on this thread, but I personally don't think a pay raise is the first "demand" an actual classroom teacher wants. The last walk out in 1990 ended when HB #1017 was passed. That bill limited K-6th classroom size to 20 students. If the number of students went over that, the district was fined. Districts have ignored that law since day #1 and the state has waived the fines for years. I'll ask all the educators here; which would you rather have, a $5K raise or a classroom with 20 kids in it? My wife (a 1st grade teacher of 25+ years) didn't even hesitate and would take 20 kids over her current 27 all day, every day. Plus, the smaller class size is better for the student. If resources are limited, spend money on attracting more teachers in order to reduce class size for our current teachers.
 

StillwaterTownie

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Jun 18, 2010
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I would love to see our state find a way to make it happen, but I'm not sure it's financially feasible. Last year we collected a total of $441M in gross production tax. Even if raising the initial tax rate on new wells increased that number by 50%, we would still be around half a billion dollars short. Not to mention the fact that if the price of crude oil drops, that extra money will disappear because no one will be drilling new wells.
$10,000 raise may be enough to compete with the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Better hope Republicans are right that the income tax cuts will finally force tax revenues to go up real good.
 

snuffy

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Feb 28, 2007
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Not to turn a corner on this thread, but I personally don't think a pay raise is the first "demand" an actual classroom teacher wants. The last walk out in 1990 ended when HB #1017 was passed. That bill limited K-6th classroom size to 20 students. If the number of students went over that, the district was fined. Districts have ignored that law since day #1 and the state has waived the fines for years. I'll ask all the educators here; which would you rather have, a $5K raise or a classroom with 20 kids in it? My wife (a 1st grade teacher of 25+ years) didn't even hesitate and would take 20 kids over her current 27 all day, every day. Plus, the smaller class size is better for the student. If resources are limited, spend money on attracting more teachers in order to reduce class size for our current teachers.
This goes back to what i said several pages ago, this is not about money, it is about the future of Oklahoma.
 
Nov 8, 2007
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They also want a $5K raise for all support professionals. I'm not sure the total number, but this includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teacher aides, janitors ect. Their website says they make up over 40% of the Oklahoma school workforce. Meeting this demand would probably cost another $200 million or more.
The spreadsheet I have shows 48,377 non-teacher staff. I removed anyone with the title teacher, superintendent and assistant superintendent.

So, $5,000 to them is $241,885,000.
 
Sep 22, 2009
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I cannot speak for “majority of districts”. But it is a state minimum by year. I would hope districts are following it.
My wife teaches at a school outside of Tulsa and she has gotten her step every year and actually gets paid a percentage above the state minimum for her step.
 
Nov 8, 2007
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And OEA reminds us all why no one likes unions.

Make some very unrealistic demands and then say "We have no idea how you plan to raise the money, but you have 3 weeks to come up with $800 million!"
 
Mar 11, 2006
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And OEA reminds us all why no one likes unions.

Make some very unrealistic demands and then say "We have no idea how you plan to raise the money, but you have 3 weeks to come up with $800 million!"
Agreed. The OEA Head Alicia Priest is not a great representative for the teachers.
 
Sep 13, 2013
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Left field
My wife and I marched for HB1017 way back when, our neighbor is a fourth grade teacher with 37 students in her class with 7 on IEPs. Every Friday she fills up backpacks with food for her needy students. Every year more parenting duties are dropped on teachers backs. Every year more teachers leave the state and class sizes increase. Every year the legislature drops more un-funded mandates. Every year cost go up and pay remains the same. I think it’s time to throw money at the problem!
 

StillwaterTownie

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View attachment 59514

Bartlesville came up with this plan for funding.
Bad plan. Nobody wants to pay higher gas taxes, especially if it's not even applied to the highway system. If the legislature can't fund the teacher demands, then it must ask the voters to do it with several revenue raising questions. Among them could be to raise the GPT to 7% for all wells, raise cigarette tax, redirect proceeds from the tobacco trust fund to education, and raise income tax on people making more than $75,000 by .5% or more. Tax hikes that only effect a minority of people will have a much greater chance of passing. Getting money generated from the tobacco trust fund wouldn't even require a tax hike.
 
Oct 30, 2007
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View attachment 59514

Bartlesville came up with this plan for funding.
I like most of what I see from the plan. Some of the numbers are interesting. The most up to date statistics I've found show that our state has just under 42K teachers. A $6K raise to 42K teachers comes to a total of $252 million. I wonder where the extra $114 million is going.

The only revenue source I would object to is the income tax deduction cap. The bill that was introduced last year really limits deductions on student loan interest, mortgage interest, daycare etc. that the working class depends on. It would likely hurt a lot of teachers by limiting their student loan debt deduction.

The gasoline and diesel tax is interesting. That increase would put us right in line with what Texas charges, but still less than what Kansas charges. I think it would be a good move. I'm not sure it would pass though.

It's encouraging to see that by simply raising the gross production tax and increasing cigarette and tobacco taxes, we could give the teachers a significant raise. Hopefully our state will step up and get something done to avoid the strike.
 

StillwaterTownie

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The gasoline and diesel tax is interesting. That increase would put us right in line with what Texas charges, but still less than what Kansas charges. I think it would be a good move. I'm not sure it would pass though.
Why does it make more sense to you to direct a hike in gas and diesel tax to education than to the highway system? Have the roads become much improved in Oklahoma lately?
 

oks10

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Sep 9, 2007
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Why does it make more sense to you to direct a hike in gas and diesel tax to education than to the highway system? Have the roads become much improved in Oklahoma lately?
Because our highway system isn't that bad?? City streets, sure (though there's a lot of those being repaired right now) but over all the highways aren't in terrible shape. Why does it make more sense to you for it go to the highways system instead of education?
 
Oct 30, 2007
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Why does it make more sense to you to direct a hike in gas and diesel tax to education than to the highway system? Have the roads become much improved in Oklahoma lately?
In a perfect world every penny collected in fuel tax would go towards improving and maintaining our transportation infrastructure and every penny spent by our education system would be funded by the parents of the students utilizing it. But the world we live in is far from perfect.

I simply care more about having a quality education system than I care about having brand new highways to drive on. I think there's a glaring need to improve funding and I would like to see steps taken towards solving the problem.
 

StillwaterTownie

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Because our highway system isn't that bad?? City streets, sure (though there's a lot of those being repaired right now) but over all the highways aren't in terrible shape. Why does it make more sense to you for it go to the highways system instead of education?
Why settle for mediocre and sometimes less? Have you ever driven on that stretch of highway from the corner of Highway 51 and 18 east to Yale? And how many road and bridge projects in Oklahoma have been held up, due to cut in funds? I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people would disagree with you.
 
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