Certified Personnel Pay Raise FAQs


House Bill 2765 and Senate Bill 1048, enacted and signed into law during the 2019 legislative session, establish requirements and opportunities for Oklahoma public schools (LEAs) to prepare for and disseminate annual salary increases to the certified personnel they employ. This document is intended to assist LEAs in implementing the provisions of House Bill 2765 and Senate Bill 1048, specifically as they relate to salary increases for certified personnel during the 2019-2020 school year. This document is not intended to serve as legal advice, but is general in nature and reflects the questions OSDE has received as of June 24, 2019.

1. What legislation requires salary increases for certified personnel?
House Bill 2765 is the General Appropriations bill, and as it relates to salary increases for certified personnel in the public schools, it provides:

SECTION 1. There is hereby appropriated to the State Board of Education from any monies not otherwise appropriated from the General Revenue Fund of the State Treasury for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, the sum of One Billion Four Hundred Seventy-eight Million One Hundred Five Thousand Seven Hundred Dollars ($1,478,105,700.00) or so much thereof as may be necessary for the financial support of public schools. Of those funds appropriated, the State Board of Education shall designate Fifty-eight Million Eight Hundred Fifty-eight Thousand Five Hundred Three Dollars ($58,858,503.00) for increased compensation for certified personnel as defined by Section 26-103 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes. (Emphasis added).

In addition, Senate Bill 1048 is the budget limits bill for the State Board of Education. It expressly states:

SECTION 1. Of the funds appropriated in Section 1 of Enrolled House Bill 2765 of the 1st Session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature, Fifty-eight Million Eight Hundred Fifty-eight Thousand Five Hundred Three Dollars ($58,858,503.00) shall be used for the purpose of providing an increase in compensation for certified personnel as defined by Section 26-103 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The salary increase provided for in this section shall be in addition to, and not as a replacement for, the step increase indicated for the certified employee pursuant to the State Minimum Salary Schedule, as provided in Section 18-114.14 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes. By December 31, 2019, school districts shall report to the State Department of Education the amount of increase in compensation each teacher received as a result of these funds. No later than February 1, 2020, the State Department of Education shall make this data available on its website for public viewing and shall submit a report to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

2. When are the salary increase requirements effective?
Section 1 of HB 2765 and all of SB 1048 are effective July 1, 2019. As such, the salary increase is effective July 1, 2019.

3. What is the expectation for pay raises in 2019-2020?
The aforementioned legislation makes clear that certified personnel, as defined in 70 O.S. § 26-103, are to receive a salary increase in the 2019-2020 school year. This is also consistent with statements made by the Governor and legislative leaders – teachers are to receive a pay increase in the 2019-2020 school year. The compromise at the end of session was as follows: districts would receive funding for pay raises, and be expected, but not required, to give an average $1,220 raise, to be annualized in future years. The intent is clear and the OSDE supports this expectation.

4. Who is required to receive a salary increase?
SB 1048 identifies “certified personnel as defined by 70 O.S. § 26-103” as the target of the appropriated funds for pay increases. In that section of law, “certified personnel” is defined to mean “a certified person employed on a full-time basis to serve as a teacher, principal, supervisor, administrator, counselor, librarian, or certified or registered nurse, but shall not mean a superintendent of a school district.” The salary increase, like last year’s, will not include district superintendents.

5. How much of a salary increase should certified personnel receive?
The intention of the law makes clear that certified personnel, on average, should receive a $1,220 raise, to be annualized and continued in future years.

6. Did the state minimum salary schedule change in the 2019 Legislative Session?
No. The state Minimum Salary Schedule remains the same as the one passed in the 2018 Legislative Session.

7. Is the increase including or in addition to the step?
SB 1048 plainly states that, “[t]he salary increase provided for in this section shall be in addition to, and not as a replacement for, the step increase indicated for the certified employee pursuant to the State Minimum Salary Schedule.” (Emphasis added.) Therefore, pay increases in the 2019-2020 school year must be in addition to the teacher’s step increase based on years of experience and degree level.

8. How is the pay raise funded?
SB 1048 appropriates $58,858,503 to be used “for the purpose of providing an increase in compensation for certified personnel.” This funding comes from the total amount appropriated to the financial support of public schools from the General Revenue Fund in the General Appropriations Bill, HB 2765. As a result, the funding for increases will be distributed through the formula.

9. Can this be paid as a stipend/bonus?
No. SB 1048 explicitly provides that $58,858,503 of what is appropriated to the financial support of public schools from the General Revenue Fund in the General Appropriations bill (HB 2765) shall be used for a salary increase, in addition to and not a replacement for the step increase provided in the state minimum salary schedule. This language is clear in mandating a raise in salary as a part of the base salary and not a one-time bonus or stipend. A reminder: This raise is permanent and recurring, and State Law prohibits a teacher’s salary from being reduced from one year to the next.

10. Is this amount appropriated for the raise for 10 months only?
Both SB 1048 and HB 2765 have an effective date of July 1, 2019. There is no language in either bill requiring pay raises to begin September 1. However, the Governor and legislative leaders stated publicly that the amount appropriated – $58,858,503 – was intended to fund ten months of a $1,220 pay raise, and they committed to fund it for twelve months next year. The cost for a $1,200 pay raise for twelve months is $70,630,204.

11. Does the amount appropriated include district obligations?
Yes. The OSDE’s cost estimate of $70,630,204 for twelve months includes the employer contribution to OTRS and FICA. The appropriated amount covers ten months of that estimate.

12. Are charter schools required to give a pay raise?
Charter schools are not required to follow the minimum salary schedule. However, the minimum salary schedule did not change, and the salary increase provided through HB 2765 and SB 1048 does not place them on the Minimum Salary Schedule. In fact, the measures plainly state that the increases in salary are in addition to (i.e., separate and apart from) what may be reflected in the Minimum Salary Schedule. As stated above, the expectation is for certified personnel, as defined in 70 O.S. § 26-103, to receive the salary increase, regardless of whether employed by a traditional public or public charter school. In addition, all charter schools receive state-appropriated dollars through the funding formula. As such, the expectation for charter schools with certified personnel remains the same as for all districts.

13. Are any districts exempt from giving a pay raise?
The expectation is for all LEAs, including those not receiving state appropriated dollars through the funding formula (commonly referred to as “off the formula districts”). The same expectation applies to districts that receive only the salary incentive aid and not foundation aid. The intent and expectation is for certified personnel, as defined in 70 O.S. § 26-103, to receive the salary increase, regardless of whether employed by an “off-the-formula” district, a charter school, or otherwise.

14. What does it mean to give an average of $1,220?
The Governor and Legislature stated that teachers in districts not receiving state appropriations through the funding formula were not included in the cost estimate calculations. As a result, the amount appropriated provides enough funding to give a raise of $1,220 rather than $1,200 over twelve months. It is clear that the pay raise legislation is intended to give districts the maximum flexibility in implementing pay raises. The expectation is that the total amount of pay raises will reflect an average across all certified staff of $1,220. This allows districts to differentiate pay if desired.

15. Are principals and other administrators required to receive a pay raise?
No, while principals and other administrators could receive a raise under these provisions, they are not required to receive a raise. The state minimum salary did not increase, and the language pertaining to the 2018-2019 pay raise that explicitly required the raise in addition to what the individual made in the prior year was not renewed.

16. Can a district include retirement payments for employees as part of the raise calculation?
The appropriation is intended for increases in base salary for certified personnel. If a district already pays the employee retirement contribution, the raise is expected to be in addition to that contribution.

17. Will the OSDE tell districts how much to spend on pay raises?
No. We can ascertain from the final result of the appropriation that the Legislature intended for districts to have flexibility on how raises are distributed to staff. With the appropriation of $58,858,503 and an additional $74,790,265 in funds for operations through the funding formula, the OSDE believes districts will have sufficient funds to follow through with the intent of the Governor and Legislature.

18. Are there different reporting deadlines for this pay raise outside of already established personnel reports?
No. SB 1048 requires school districts to report the amount of increase in compensation each teacher received by December 31, 2019, and requires the OSDE to make this data available on its website and in a report to the Pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House by February 1, 2020. In order to meet these deadlines in a timely fashion, OSDE will calculate the amount of raise for each teacher based on the October 1 personnel reporting period and subsequently provide this information as required.

19. How will districts be held accountable for giving the pay raise?
In SB 1048, the OSDE is required to make a report of pay raises given in 2019-2020. After the October 1 personnel reporting period, OSDE will publish a report including the difference in pay for each teacher and an average pay raise amount for each district. When considering pay raise amounts, districts are encouraged to ensure that the average across all certified staff members equals a $1,220 increase.

20. How will OSDE calculate underpaid teachers in FY 20?
The underpaid teacher report for FY 20 will be based on the existing Minimum Salary Schedule in 70 OS § 18-114.14.

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Last updated on June 24, 2019