Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin suggested closing a $1.3 billion budget hole by cutting millions of dollars from state agencies, but mostly sparing the state’s public school system. The state has suffered tremendously as the price of oil, which the state is heavily dependent on, fell precipitously in recent months.
“We want to fund education at the appropriate levels,” Fallin said when she released her budget proposal Wednesday. “We want to make sure every child has the best education possible.”
But Fallin’s budget proposal is riling up teachers for a different reason..
Her spending plan still doesn’t include the $3,000 pay raise for teachers she said in her state-of-the-state address that she would include, in order to fix a teacher shortage in the state. She’s criticized a proposal on this November’s ballot that would raise state sales taxes by 1 percent to give teachers a $5,000 pay raise. In her Wednesday press conference, she said she’s working with legislators to come up with an alternate solution.
The state’s teachers are not happy with the state’s per-pupil spending plan and the increasing amount of testing required in the classroom and they’re taking action. .
Over the last several weeks, more than 36 current and retired educators filed to run for office, according to the Associated Press. It’s not clear hwo this compares to past years but election officials say they’ve never had an easier time getting Democrats to run for office.
All of the state’s 101 house seats are open this fall, and more than half of the state’s 48 senate seats are also up.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.