State superintendent hopes raise proposal will keep good teachers in Oklahoma
ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - 53 thousand Oklahoma teachers could get a 5,000 dollar raise some time next year, if a new proposed Oklahoma State Department of Education budget goes through.
“This is part of what it takes to meet our kids where they are today in Oklahoma classrooms,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said. “No matter where they live, they are deserving of an excellent education. So this is really about investing in people so we can invest in our children’s education and see higher outcomes for kids.”
Hofmeister said the proposed 66 million dollar budget increase is the key to attract and keep great teachers in Oklahoma.
“We have one of the most pronounced teacher shortage conditions in the country, so working to achieve competitive pay is part of that, but we also have to look at building around the classroom teacher, more people on the team,” Hofmeister said.
Right now to compensate for the lack of teachers, Oklahoma schools are employing a lot of “emergency certification teachers,” meaning someone who has a bachelor’s degree, but not a teaching certificate.
“We do have emergency certified teachers at a very high rate compared to our years in the past, as well as other states,” Hofmeister said. “This means that there wasn’t a qualified applicant when the job was posted, and that somebody had to be recruited to come in that does not yet possess a teachers certificate.”
Hofmeister said that emergency certification does make them eligible for the pay raise.
“But they do need to become fully certified in order to make sure that our kids have the kind of expertise that is needed for them,” Hofmeister said. “This is really also about addressing a lingering problem in Oklahoma where that teacher workforce and that pipeline has weakened.”
Hofmeister said special needs teachers would get an extra raise, between 7 and 10 thousand dollars, and the rest of the proposal could allow bus drivers and cafeteria workers to get a raise too.
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