State lawmakers propose ideas that could increase teacher pay - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

State lawmakers propose ideas that could increase teacher pay

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - As Oklahoma lawmakers gear up for the upcoming legislative session, one of their top priorities is an increase in teacher salaries. 
This comes after State Question 779 failed to earn approval from voters, which would have raised their annual salaries by 5,000 dollars funded by a one-cent sales tax. 

Some of the proposals lawmakers have already put forth include raising the state's minimum pay for teachers by 5,000 dollars. Another is increasing the income tax rate for those who make more than 100-thousand dollars a year. One of the biggest concerns is where that funding will come from. 
State Representative John Michael Montgomery who represents District 62, which includes Lawton, said teacher pay is very important, but the key issue is finding enough legislators to agree on the same proposal.

PEAL President Arlene Cudd says she was upset after state question 779 failed to pass. 

"I was terribly disappointed. As a lot of people don't realize is that we have a lot of teachers that are also moonlighting to make their salary go further. A lot of the male teacher do the lawns some of the female teachers are caregivers, or working at Sylvan tutoring,", said Cudd. 

 While education is a top priority several lawmakers are proposing ideas to generate the revenue to fund pay increases. Local, State Representative, John Michael Montgomery said the biggest issue is coming up with the best way to fund the increases that legislators can agree on.

"Ideally anything most that we do anything at all with a budget either funding education and putting it in the classroom or handling mental health we want to do that recurring revenue. We want sources of revenue that are going to be stable and build over a several years time so that we can take care of those priorities. One of the bigger pushes we will need to make is to get away from our reliance on cash and one time fixes that don't really solve our budget issues", said Montgomery.

As for some of the ideas proposed by other lawmakers, such as increasing the income tax rate for people earning more than 100,000 dollars , Cudd said shes in favor.

"Most people do not make 100,000 certainly the teachers don't, even if you got a couple making 100,000. I'm for anything that will help the teachers feel more appreciated, more cherished", said Cudd.

Cud said if lawmakers do not come up with an option to fund pay increases she fears how it will effect education in Lawton and the state of Oklahoma.

"Some teachers have confided to me that they will probably finish out this year and then they are moving to Texas and that is sad. Two of them have at least 10 years or more experience this is not somebody who didn't try Oklahoma but they have just gotten frustrated by Oklahoma", said Cudd.

Montgomery says several representatives have already started meeting to create a bill they believe will work best for teachers. Oklahoma's 2017 legislative session will begin February 6th.

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