theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

August 28, 2013

Proposal to boost teacher pay criticized

Ada — Asking school districts to tap their carryover funds to cover the cost of boosting teachers’ pay is a bad idea, a state lawmaker said Wednesday.

School districts rely on carryover funds to help pay their bills whenever they are waiting on state aid to tide them over, said Rep. Todd Thomsen. He noted that using carryover funds to cover teacher pay raises would remove that cushion.

“I don’t see how that could even be considered as a wise option for a state teacher pay raise,” said Thomsen, an Ada Republican who serves on the House Conference Committee on Common Education.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi has asked local school districts to consider tapping their carryover funds and reducing overhead costs so they could boost teachers’ salaries by $2,000 a year without legislative action. She unveiled her proposal at a candidates forum on Saturday, then repeated her challenge to school districts on Monday.

“With only a 10 percent reduction in carryover and a 2 percent cut in overhead, we can give every teacher in Oklahoma a $2,000 raise,” Barresi wrote in a column, which appeared in Tuesday’s edition of the Tulsa World. “That $2,000 would move Oklahoma teachers ahead of their counterparts in Arkansas and nearly tie Missouri’s teacher salaries. The pay gap with Texas would be slashed by more than half.

“It’s not everything our teachers deserve, but it’s a start.”

She estimated that the plan would cost about $100 million a year, which would come from districts’ carryover funds and discretionary spending accounts.

Barresi won the state superintendent’s job three years ago, but she may have a difficult time holding onto it in 2014. The prospect of replacing her has drawn three Democratic challengers, who will square off in the 2014 primary.

Barresi also faces an intraparty challenge from Tulsa Republican Joy Hofmeister, a former state school board member who resigned to seek the superintendent’s post.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Stocks
Poll

For years, Oklahoma was a mostly Democratic state. In recent years, there has been a swing to Republican affiliation. Have you changed your political affiliation to Republican?

Yes
No
     View Results