Oklahoma teachers speak on Step Up Oklahoma Bill failing

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Michelle Bray has taught Government and Sociology at Madill High School for 17 years.

"I was torn on this issue," Bray said. "I really think that our legislators need to work towards a comprehensive plan for teachers that looks at more than just a step raise, (it) looks at something that is going to be long term."

Bray says she has had to pick up a second job as a cashier at Wal-Mart because of the pay.

"The fact that our pay has not increased and I actually feel - I know make less money than I did 10 years ago and I just can't keep up with my bills," Bray said.

And Bray is not the only teacher juggling two jobs.

Fine arts teacher Robin Spriggs at Jefferson Elementary in Ardmore works 10 hour shifts as an operator for Mercy Hospital every other weekend.

"I know that across the state I could feel the pain of every educator that heard the news." Spriggs said. "It was disappointing, I'm just really glad that there is a problem and that they are willing to work on it."

According to the state website, teachers out of college make about $32,000 annually.

Teachers who have had 25 years of experience make about $43,000.

Both Bray and Spriggs say the pay raise would have made a difference in their lives.

"We want the capitol, we want our governor, we want everyone to know that our kids are worth it, and they have a future, and what that future is depends upon us," Spriggs said.

"Pay attention to us and pay attention to our kids," Bray said. "They see what's happening, they know what's happening at the capitol and they need better and they deserve better."

State Representative Tommy Hardin released a statement on his page stating he voted against the bill because, "If I were to vote for the ‘Step Up Oklahoma’ plan, I will have given the power of my constituents over to the special interest groups."

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