LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An increase to Lawton Public Schools teacher's paychecks was voted on Monday night at the Lawton Board of Education meeting. Certified Lawton teachers could see a $1,200 raise just for this year because of the salary schedule increase and a one-time stipend. A few weeks back 7NEWS reported a carry-over from last year's school budget coming in at about $10 million. Superintendent Doctor Tom Deighan is using a piece of that money for these raises. $3 million for the next two years.
"It's just a way for us to show em our appreciation," Deighan said.
Starting in the 2015-16 school year, Deighan and the school board began addressing and raising pay for all their staff. Since then they have adjusted starting teacher pay, gave one-time stipends, and increased pay for support staff. Now it's the teacher's turn. An $800 raise that is guaranteed for this and next year. Then a $400 stipend for this year only.
"Whatever we committed to do this year, we wanted to be able to sustain for the future," Deighan said. "So we limited our self to a salary increase that we could pay for right now for two years."
After those two years, the guarantee wears off for a few reasons.
We split the $1,200 into the permanent $800 and the $400 one-time because there is so much uncertainty in the state economy that we could not commit indefinitely to the extra," Deighan said.
While salary increases allows Lawton to attract better teachers and keep the teachers already there, Deighan said that's not the main reason for the pay raise.
"We're not competing with other school districts," Deighan said. "We just really want to pay our staff as much as we possibly can. Because if I don't have good staff to take care of our children then our children aren't taken care of."
Also included in the pay raises are step increases for teachers and support staff. That means if you have worked for the district for over 28 years, you get one more pay raise. Before the step increases stopped at the 28-year mark.
No decisions have been made on what to do with the rest of the carryover from last year. So at this time, the $7 million left over remains untouched.
Also on Monday night, the board approved to open up the application process for a new board member for area 3. This is to replace Eric Sharum who resigned this year back in March. He left because of conflicts of interest between him, the Oklahoma Sports Network and the district.
The deadline for applications is August 14th. The board plans to appoint a new member by September 4th. Contact the office of the superintendent at 580-357-6900 with questions.