Monday, April 2, 2018

Oklahoma teacher / support staff pay raise bills

Oklahoma passed the bills to raise the pay for schools but...
And yes also for the support staff also in that is needed as
for the workers that made correcting for inflation the wages 
is like $5 an hour!

Teachers need pay also with all he work and effort to
make $12 an hour new Teacher pay!
That's like the point of your education is only worth
the paper it's printed on as like you want your kids to go to 
Harvard and not a JR college. Like the result or going to a 
brain surgeon that went to a JR college vs Yale Medical school!
Its about the point of the kids future. 

And so still there is a raise but what about those kids and funding for
support staff needed? And so it's about the kids future a need for better!

Each school district has different issues. So the protest is different on different parts.
But all the same. Needing more than they are getting! Pay for teachers and staff.
And more for the teaching of the kids. 

And so they have to fund education better or have the kids popping out
of high school unprepared for college, going to a JR college to make up the 
loss to get in college. So many won't and all of that makes a bad labor force.
Un skilled labor! Who can pass the background checks? 

The kids going in private school just won't be working at Walmart so
as the bulk of labor force crashes who are those kids getting out of
private school going to hire when they get out in the world?
So private schools are few to the many in public school!

For those that don't understand why others don't want to cut off their legs
to save their toes well look how they live, what do they have?
Being against the Teacher walkout is like being a clueless "regional pantomime".
Local and pantomime with nothing that helps no one with anything!

~~~~~Nearly 50 million students enroll in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 5 million (roughly 10 percent) of students in the U.S. attend private schools.

~~~~~Governor signs tax hike and teacher pay bills following political drama
Declaring it a "historic moment," Gov. Mary Fallin signed major tax hike and teacher pay raise bills Thursday — signing the measures into law just days before teachers have announced plans to walk out of their classrooms.

"We achieved something that we all thought might be impossible," Fallin said. "It was not easy getting there."

Ultimately, lawmakers approved a bill that will hike teacher pay by an average of about $6,100 a year.

"We will now be able to be second in the region in teacher pay," Fallin said, adding that raises would average 15 to 18 percent, depending on years of service.

Whether that will be enough to stave off a prolonged teacher walkout is yet to be determined. Oklahoma Education Association leaders are still calling for schools to close Monday so teachers can make their voices heard at the Capitol.

But State schools Superintendent of Instruction Joy Hofmeister called approval of the teacher pay raise bill "a tremendous step forward for public education."

"This bill allows us to begin to reverse Oklahoma's severe teacher shortage and begin attracting new talent to the profession while also rewarding career educators," she said.

To pay for teacher and state employee pay hikes, lawmakers approved a $474 million package of tax hikes that will:

• Raise the initial tax rate on oil and gas wells from 2 percent to 5 percent for the first three years, with the rate rising to 7 percent after that.

• Increase the motor fuel tax by 3 cents a gallon on gasoline and 6 cents a gallon on diesel.

• Add a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes.

• Tax little cigars the same as cigarettes.

• Add a $5 room tax on hotel and motel stays.

The hotel/motel tax will likely never be collected, however.

Projected to raise about $47 million, that proposed tax created an uproar in Oklahoma's hospitality industry, with many hotel and motel operators complaining it would hurt tourism and convention business.

Yielding to pressure from the Senate, the House passed a follow-up bill Thursday that would repeal the hotel/motel tax.

That bill will now go to the Senate. The governor is expected to sign it if it reaches her desk, said Michael McNutt, the governor's press secretary.

Consideration of the repeal measure created the political drama of the day, with House Democrats locking up against it.

Democrats complained that the loss of that tax revenue would leave the state short of the needed funds to grant promised pay increases and that senators had not provided an alternative source of funding.

State Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, argued on the House floor that the tax package approved by lawmakers was about $75 million short of providing necessary funding even with the hotel/motel tax included. In addition to wanting the hotel/motel tax removed, Inman said state senators were voicing a reluctance to allow balls and dice to be used in roulette and craps games in Indian casinos, a proposed change projected to provide about $22 million in annual revenue.

"Now the (revenue) plan is nearly $150 million upside down," Inman said.

Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest joined Inman in criticizing legislative efforts to repeal the hotel/motel tax and back away from proposed Indian gaming law changes.

“What yesterday looked like a positive step forward and a historic down payment on our children's future now hangs in the balance as the Legislature dismantles the funding needed to solve this crisis they created in the first place," Priest said in a prepared statement. "Stunts like these are why Oklahomans lack any trust or confidence in the state Legislature."

Priest said the goal of teachers has been to avoid a walkout, but "because lawmakers continue breaking promises, even promises made less than 24 hours ago, we call on schools to remain closed on Monday so educators can send a clear message at the Capitol: Oklahoma educators won't stand for these games any longer."

Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said Inman was overstating the revenue gap.

"Ball and dice was never certified money eligible to be spent," Treat said, adding that the Indian gaming legislation is still "working through the process."

"None of that money was included in the pay raise for teachers or support employees or state employees," he said.

Treat said state senators would not have passed the tax revenue bill without a promise to repeal the hotel/motel tax, so the teacher and employee pay raises would not have been possible without it being removed.

The Senate is considering alternatives to make up for some of the revenue that would be lost by repeal of the room tax, he said.

One alternative under consideration is asking Amazon to collect sales and use taxes on items sold through its site by third-party vendors, Treat said.

Amazon already has an agreement with the state to collect such taxes on items it sells directly, he said. Expanding collections to include third-party vendors — something Amazon is already doing for some other states — is projected to raise an additional $19.6 million a year, he said.

In addition to signing the tax package and teacher pay raise bills Thursday, Fallin signed a bill that places a $17,000 cap on deductions on adjusted gross income. Charitable contributions and medical expenses are excluded from the cap.

Getting a pay raise for teachers has been a "priority of the state of Oklahoma for many years," the governor said. "It took many efforts and many tries."

~~~~~New Teacher Pay Raise FAQs
ssertion 1:  This does not have sustained funding year over year. Only 60% of the money will go to education.

FALSE. Education receives funding from a variety of sources, the largest of which is the General Revenue (GR) Fund. Increasing the amount of money going into the GR Fund each year will pave the way for the Legislature to ensure the raises continue to be funded. As a result of HB 3705, the Legislature has set a new baseline for education funding. As is the case each year, the OSDE, advocacy groups and educators will continue to express education needs to the Legislature. For example: In FY 17, common education was appropriated $65.8 million from the Rainy Day fund. In FY 18, common education was appropriated $51 million from the Rainy Day fund, leaving a “hole” of $14.8 million. Additional funds were added from other sources to ensure the total was not reduced.

Assertion 2:  Money will be “diverted” to health/roads after the first year.

TRUE, BUT MISLEADING. The state has many obligations to fulfill, including those for education, roads and bridges and healthcare. With the passage of new revenue streams to fund state obligations for core services, funding will be freed up to be appropriated for education. 

Assertion 3:  The removal of the hotel tax means the raise will shrink.

FALSE. In HB 1023xx the Legislature increased the minimum salary schedule, which will require teachers be paid no less than the new minimum annually. In HB 3705, common education was appropriated money from the General Revenue (GR) Fund to provide districts money for the raises. The Legislature has made this appropriation before appropriations to any other agencies – by April 1 for only the second time since 2003 when the requirement was put into place. Regardless of which revenue measures are passed, common education will still receive the appropriated amount.

Assertion 4:  Raises are only for one year (like a bonus or stipend). 

FALSE. In HB 1023XX the Legislature increased the minimum salary schedule, meaning teachers must be paid no less than the new minimum annually.

Assertion 5:  Those making above the minimum salary schedule will receive  nothing or a reduced amount.

FALSE. HB 1023XX includes a provision to ensure that all teachers receive the amount of raise for the corresponding step. For example: A teacher in a district paying $2,000 above the minimum with 10 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree makes $35,950 (min) + $2,000 = $37,950. Next year a teacher in the same position would receive $37,950 (base) + $5,734 (raise) = $43,684, whereas a teacher in a district paying the minimum would receive $35,950 (min) + $5,734 (raise) = $41,684. Salary increases by step are included in the chart below.

Assertion 6: This raise will not be meaningful. We will still be 48th (or so) in teacher pay.

FALSE. Using the average increase in annual salary of $6,180, teachers will rank second in the region according to the NEA Ranking of the States.

Assertion 7: This salary increase will put teachers in a higher tax bracket, which will nullify the impact of the pay increase. 

MOSTLY FALSE. See the US tax tables linked below for reference. Only teachers on the upper end of a bracket’s range would move to another bracket. Additionally, health insurance benefits are fully paid by the state and are not to be included in the calculation of taxable income. To see US tax tables, click here. 

Assertion 8: This legislation does not provide funding for classrooms.

FALSE. HB 3705 restores the textbook line item for schools at a level of $33 million and appropriates an additional $422.3 million to the state funding formula, which is expected to more than cover the cost of raises for teachers and support staff. Based on current estimates, that leaves an additional nearly $18 million for operations.

Assertion 9: Support staff raises are dead/not happening.

FALSE. HB 1026XX, which provides a $1,250 raise to school support staff, has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and sent to the Governor for signature. HB 3705, which appropriates approximately $50 million to fund raises for school support staff, has also been sent to the Governor for signature. 

Assertion 10: Retired teachers were left out of this bill. 

TRUE, BUT WITH QUALIFICATIONS. While HB 1010xx did not include provisions for COLA, there is legislation still alive this session to address this issue. HB 1340 provides for a one-time distribution to retirees who have been retired for five years or more of $1,000 to $1,400, depending on the funding ratio of the pension system. This bill has passed the House and awaits a hearing in the Senate. 

Assertion 11: The revenue bill (HB 1010xx) uses the terminology “if funds are available.”

FALSE. In existing state statute, school districts receive apportioned funds from the tax levied on the gross production of oil and gas. These are state-dedicated revenues that contribute to the state funding formula. Education receives its apportionment “before any other apportionment of revenue has been made” (see 68 OS 1004, also reflected in HB 1010XX). Other Funds, like the County Highway Fund, then receive a “proportionate share of the funds available” after the obligation to education has been fulfilled. 

Assertion 12: This does not restore funding lost over the last decade.

PARTLY TRUE. It is impossible to reverse a decade of student growth that has outpaced funding for public education in a single revenue bill or legislative session. However, the actions of the Legislature to fund education at more than $2.9 billion – an increase of $480 million in one year – immediately puts Oklahoma on the path to recovery. Our focus remains on advocating for what kids need to achieve academic excellence to ensure that upon graduation they are college and career ready. We continue our advocacy efforts toward those goals and encourage everyone in the education community to do so. 

Last updated on March 29, 2018