Bills providing pay increases for school support staff, state employees also approved
Gov. Mary Fallin signed the $2.9 billion appropriation bill for common education for the upcoming 2019 fiscal year on Tuesday, April 3.
The funding authorized in House Bill (HB) 3705 marks a 19.7 percent increase over the $2.4 billion appropriation bill for K-12 public education for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
This is only the second time that legislators approved an appropriation bill for public schools by the required April 1 education funding deadline since 2003 when the requirement was put in place.
“I’m pleased to sign this bill that provides a significant increase in spending for our public school system,” said Fallin. “I’m hoping this additional funding will result in improved K-12 public school results. Our job as a state is to empower our students, parents and teachers to succeed by setting the bar high and challenging each other to succeed.
“Improving the quality and outcomes in education is the single-most important thing we can do to attract and retain jobs, alleviate poverty, and help Oklahomans have fulfilling and productive lives,” she said. “For many, education is the best and only path out of poverty.”
The $2.9 billion funding contained in HB 3705 includes $353.5 million for teacher pay; $52 million for support personnel pay: $33 million for textbooks: $17 million for the state aid formula; and $24.7 million for flex health care benefits.
The total increase in common education funding for the 2019 fiscal year is $480.2 million.
Fallin also signed HB 1026XX, which provides a $1,250 annual increase in pay for school support personnel.
In addition, the governor signed HB 1024XX, which provides a tiered pay raise for state employees. State workers earning $40,000 or less would get a $2,000 raise; those being paid $40,000 to $50,000 would get a $1,500 raise. Meanwhile, those making $50,000 – $60,000 would get a $1,000 raise and those earning $60,000 or more would get a $750 raise.
All three measures take effect July 1, the start of the state’s 2019 fiscal year.