Oklahoma Governor Proposes Teacher Pay Hike

1-21-04 – Gov. Brad Henry says he'll ask the Legislature to increase teacher pay to the regional average and improve health benefits as part of a five-year plan.

Henry told the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators the state's teachers are consistently among the top ten nationally. But he says states like Texas raid Oklahoma school districts because the state doesn't pay a competitive salary.

Oklahoma's average teacher salary is the lowest in the region at nearly $34,900. The regional average is just more than $38,500. In the first year the state would begin paying 100 percent of teacher's health insurance premiums. Teacher pay would be increased during the next four years until it's higher than the regional average.

The five-year program would cost about $244 million, and about $64 million in the first year.