OK Tobacco Endowment Fund for teacher's pay raise - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

OK Tobacco Endowment Fund for teacher's pay raise

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Fifteen years after Oklahoma voters created an endowed trust for programs that discourage tobacco use and promote healthy lifestyles, a state lawmaker wants to use the fund for pay raises for teachers.

Republican state Sen. Bryce Marlatt of Woodward has proposed a constitutional amendment to let Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust funds be used to boost teacher salaries. Oklahoma teachers have not had a raise since 2008 and are among the lowest paid in the nation with an average starting salary of about $31,000.

Marlatt says that with a fund balance of just under $1 billion, the tobacco endowment can finance a pay raise without sacrificing its original goal. But opponents say using a one-time funding source to pay for recurring teacher salaries will not work.

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