(The Center Square) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said she would ask the state’s education board for $310 million for teacher pay raises when they meet on Thursday.
The funding would give $5,000 to each of the state’s 52,850 certified teachers, according to a news release from Hofmeister’s office.
The average pay for Oklahoma teachers is $54,096, according to Hofmeister. Colorado has the highest teacher salaries in the region at $57,706. New Mexico and Texas also have higher teacher salaries, she said.
“In the midst of an unprecedented and worsening teacher shortage, it is imperative we look for long-term solutions to show that Oklahoma values and respects its teachers,” Hofmeister said in a news release.
A survey released last week by the Oklahoma State School Board Association showed 1,019 teacher openings for the 2022-2023 school year, the highest number in nine years.
Hofmeister, who is running for governor as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Kevin Stitt, accused Stitt of ignoring “one of the state’s most pressing problems” in a social media post from her campaign site.
“We need to get qualified, well-resourced teachers back in the classroom so our state has lasting economic momentum,” Hofmeister said.
Stitt’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hofmeister’s proposal.