State Superintendent Calls For $2000 Teacher Raises, Local Leaders React

Teachers deserve a 2-thousand dollar pay raise, that's according the State School Superintendent. Janet Barresi says schools should use surplus funds to increase teacher pay.

Teacher pay is a sensitive subject at the Tulsa Public School's headquarters. They have just wrapped up this years contract negotiations and the district is entering the second week of school still missing 40-teachers.

Schools are blaming the shortage of teachers on Oklahoma's low base pay for teachers, just $32,900 dollars a year.

Every year, the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association bargains to reach a predetermined step increase, but it's not guaranteed.

In 2009, teachers did not receive the raise because of the economy. But this year Tulsa came up with 2.5 million to make up for that loss. They used surplus or carry over money to do it. Now the State Superintendent says schools should use more of their excess funds and pay teachers more.

Dr. Keith Ballard says that would be 6.5 million year and that money should come from lawmakers.

"We work very carefully with our budget. We don't need the State Superintendent coming in to say, well you need to tighten up your budget. You need to be more efficient. You want to talk about efficiency, let's talk about Project School House where we closed 14 schools," said Ballard.

Contract negotiations are over. Teachers will find out about their pay for this school year on next TTuesday