Teacher pay raise, additional instructional days part of FY16 budget request approved by State Board of Education


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi asked State Board of Education members on Thursday to approve a $2,500 minimum pay raise for teachers and all certified personnel, excluding superintendents in the state. The request was part of the $2.78 billion budget request that will be presented to the Oklahoma Legislature for Fiscal Year 2016.

“Increasing teacher pay is a key factor in recruiting and retaining the best teachers for our students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “Outside of a concerned parent or guardian, teachers have the most direct impact on student’s lives. It is time we as a state offer better compensation to these dedicated and talented individuals who give so much of themselves in service to our children.”

The pay raise, totaling $213.4 million, includes the cost of adding five days of instruction as well as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) benefits and the districts’ obligation to the Teachers Retirement System.

The board approved the budget request, which is $297 million more than what was received in FY15.

The request includes an increase of $51.6 million over what was requested in FY15 for the school funding formula, in part to support costs of adding five instructional days to the school year. This includes costs for support personnel and other operating costs and maintenance that districts are likely to incur for adding days.

Board members also agreed to an increase of $15.3 million for the Flexible Benefits Allowance, which provides health insurance for educators. This amount estimates growth for certified and support personnel as well as a 3 percent increase in premiums.

The budget request includes $5.5 million for transition back to No Child Left Behind requirements, a result of the state’s loss of its flexibility waiver. This amount needed is dependent upon a determination of the waiver’s status by U.S. Department of Education.

Barresi asked for full funding of the Reading Sufficiency Act in the budget. This would mean an additional $6.6 million over last year, bringing the total to $12.7 million.

Barresi also asked for a $2.3 million increase for reading readiness, which would provide help to students in achieving grade-level reading by the end of third-grade as well as support for 15,400 fourth- and fifth-graders who scored below proficient on the state reading test in 2014.  This amount includes the awarding of grants to schools that show commitment to implementing comprehensive reading reform and systemic change.

The FY16 budget includes small increases in almost every line item because of the .12 percent reduction in general revenue experienced last year.

See the budget request here, or in a spreadsheet here.

Last updated on October 23, 2014