Hundreds of Tulsa teachers lobby in Oklahoma City for pay raise bill
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KTUL) Hundreds of teachers from Tulsa are standing in solidarity with educators statewide as they ask legislators in Oklahoma City to approve a $5,000 pay raise.
If approved, it could be the first statewide teacher raise in more than a decade.
It was a room full of fed up teachers, students, many of them holding signs.
Some called in sick, all to demand Oklahoma legislators approve that raise.
“We’ve got to have this raise to keep our teachers here," said Shauna Mott-Wright.
Hundreds from that crowd at the state capital left from Tulsa this morning.
Every teacher on the buses is ready to ask representatives to approve StepUpOK, two bills, HB 1030 and HB 1033, that would give them that extra boost.
“I don’t care what party you are and if you’re pea green or purple-spotted; if you’re an Oklahoman, you need to do what’s best for Oklahoma," said Mott-Wright.
The first is the pay raise, but it depends on HB 1033, which would raise more than $581 million through taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, fuel and wind.
Many of the teachers riding the bus this morning said they hadn't had a raise in years, more than a decade to be exact.
Teachers like Susannah Henson carrying signs with messages and standing in solidarity with her classrooms colleagues.
“It seems like we don’t matter, teachers don’t matter, so I’m trying to draw attention to the fact that teachers do matter," said Henson.
Henson teaches special education at Owens elementary. She’s done so since 1987 and has never stopped lobbying for more money.
“We hope they can hear us today," said Henson.
Robert Yadon teaches 8th-grade history. He believes the state legislature doesn’t think education is important and asks if they did; then where’s the money.
“The legislature needs to step up, pass this budget, fill these holes, start generating some more revenue for this state," said teacher Robert Yadon.
Both the House and Senate committees passed the pay increase bill last week.
Those bills now go to the House for a full vote.