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Oklahoma Teachers Pleased About Increase, But Say It's Still Not - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma Teachers Pleased About Increase, But Say It's Still Not Enough

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     Late last night, the Oklahoma Senate passed a package to fund pay raises for teachers.
     Late this afternoon...Governor Mary Fallin signed it into law.
     The result...an average boost of about $6,100 bucks a year.
     But it will also mean higher taxes.
     More on that in a bit.
The legislation that Governor Fallin signed into law is powerful, but, teachers like Suzy Bryant, say, it's still not enough.
Suzy Bryant, Classroom Teachers Association President: "A dim hope that...there's more to come.  It was a historical vote that they took, to actually have the votes there to pass that and that we know it's part of what we asked for."
Bryant is a Reading Specialist at Alexander Elementary in Commerce, she's also the President of the Classroom Teacher's Association.
She says the people of Oklahoma need to understand their demands go beyond teacher pay.
Bryant: "Yes, part of it is salary, but then part of it is to the support personnel, and general funding of the school."
Suzy Bryant has been teaching students for 47 years, she says unfortunately, this isn't the first time Oklahoma has faced an education funding crisis.
Bryant: "1990 was another historical year that we went to the capitol, we did the same thing, we went for four days, and they passed the bill then, House Bill 1017, which funded so much for our schools, but it's just more serious today, with all the budget cuts that just continue to come."
And with this bill not meeting the demands of educators, the lights turning out at the end of this school day, may not turn on again Monday.
Bryant: "At this point right now, no I don't think so, that Monday we will probably be in Oklahoma City, or locally, marching and passing out information."
Local districts including Miami, Quapaw, Wyandotte, and Commerce, all building plans for a potential ten day walkout.
 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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