Holt Proposes a Host of Options to Fund $10K Teacher Raise

As he promised when voters defeated State Question 779 for a penny sales tax for teacher raises in November, Senator David Holt has introduced a package of bills to give teacher’s $10,000 more in salary. Senate Bill 316 creates the mechanism for a phased in teacher pay raise. Holt also wrote several bills to fund the raises without raising taxes.

Currently, Oklahoma teachers make about $5,000 less than teachers in the region and $10,000 less than the national average according to Holt.

“We cannot have the future we want for our state without a solid education system, which we cannot have without great teachers, which we cannot have without competitive pay,” said Holt.  “There are so many things Oklahoma needs to do, but none are as important as this.  We need to address this teacher pay issue in the 2017 session, and this legislative package proves that it can be done.”

Holt’s funding proposals total at least $744 million in options to provide money for the raises. There is another option of adding $261 million to the fold. If all the legislation Holt is proposing gains approval, it could mean more than a $1 billion to fund raises for teachers without a tax increase. However, the Legislature will be able to pick from several options.

“My package provides a menu of options, within which we could accommodate a smaller pay raise, or distinctions based on seniority, credentials, or subject matter, if that was the will of the body,” Holt said.  “I expect there to be many great ideas, and I will support the final product that emerges, as long as we’re making real progress on this issue.”

Holt said it is time for Oklahoma to catch up with the rest of the country to compete for quality teachers.

“I believe we need to be talking about a $10,000 raise, because we let this fester so long, because we are so far behind, and because it will take years to implement. Not many private businesses would go a decade without providing even a cost-of-living increase.  When you run an operation that way, you leave yourself no choice but to make a bold move or risk failure.  Let’s start thinking ahead of the curve instead of playing catch-up,” said Holt.

“I think any realistic and practical solution to the teacher pay issue must be multi-faceted, must be multi-year, and must require only simple majorities of the Legislature. I think there’s a lot of room for negotiation within those parameters.  The reason I have proposed funding options that far exceed the need is so that this Legislature can pick and choose what elements work best.”

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  1. Bob, 19 January, 2017

    All you have to do is pay for it. Let’s do the math, a $1,000 a year teacher salary increase costs $60 MILLION. A $10,000 a year raise would cost $600 MILLION. The state is short $900 MILLION already, so add the $900 million you have to replace or reduce, and the $600 Million for a $10,000 a year raise, means you have to raise $1.5 BILLION to balance the budget and give teachers a raise. Or lawmakers must reduce state spending by $900 Million AND find $600 Million in new revenue (taxes or fees) since we don’t have any spare change to cover the teacher raise plan. Does that add up?

  2. cal hobson, 20 January, 2017

    Dear Bob,

    Of course it doesn’t add up but for lawmakers it doesn’t matter nor do they want it to.

    What does count to them, since they can’t, are constituents who can’t add and subtract either.


    Cal Hobson


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