OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) - After weeks of work to come up with legislation to fund teacher pay raises -- and just five days out from a planned statewide teacher walkout -- the Oklahoma Senate has voted to approve a sweeping tax hike bill to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into education.
The Senate voted on House Bill 1010xx Wednesday evening, narrowly giving it the three-fourth's majority needed to pass.
The House already approved the package, which is designed to generate about 450-million-dollars for teacher raises and other spending. Lawmakers say the package would fund a $6,100, or 16 percent, pay raise on average for Oklahoma teachers.
The bill now heads to Governor Mary Fallin, who says she intends to sign it.
Oklahoma Education Association president Alicia Priest released a statement after the bill's passage:
"The passage of HB1010xx is a truly historic moment in Oklahoma. This movement, fueled by the courageous acts of teachers, parents, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, custodians, and community members has forced this legislature to finally act. This historic investment of half a billion dollars will benefit a generation of Oklahoma students and will be felt in every community across this state. While this is major progress, this investment alone will not undo a decade of neglect. Lawmakers have left funding on the table that could be used immediately to help Oklahoma students. There is still work to do to get this legislature to invest more in our classrooms. That work will continue Monday when educators descend on the Capitol."