State Senator Stratton Taylor who took the lead early in the legislative session to give teachers a $3,000 across the board pay raise is asking Governor Brad Henry “to do something meaningful for teachers’ salaries.”

Henry’s plan calls for an average of $2,400.

Taylor said,“The problem with the Governor’s plan is that it doesn’t guarantee any teacher a pay increase, and in some instances the teachers will see little or no increase because of the vagaries of the school funding formula and how much money their local district receives.”

The Claremore Senator said Senate Staff projections show that as many as 23,000 teachers would receive less than the $2,400 average the Governor proposes.

Taylor (D) is the former president pro tempore of the Senate and the current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Funding.

“Brad Henry is a good Governor, and I fully intend to support him during this next election,” said Taylor, also a Democrat, “but at least one year of his four-year term he needs to do something meaningful for teachers’ salaries.

“The Governor’s proposal is basically a false promise.

“Unless it is a guaranteed across-the-board outside the school funding formula, thousands of Oklahoma teachers will be receiving a promise from the Governor that is returned marked ‘insufficient funds’.”

Taylor said that Oklahoma is blessed with good teachers, but if the state wants to keep them and attract new ones, we must make a serious effort to increase teacher salaries.

“Just this week an individual whose niece recently graduated from an Oklahoma college, approached me with the story of how she is being offered $13,000 more by an adjoining state than Oklahoma’s starting pay,” said Taylor. “She wants to stay in Oklahoma but economics will force her elsewhere.”

“That’s why we need to have a guaranteed across-the-board salary increase, and that’s why the Governor needs to make sure that during at least one of his years as Governor he advocated a guaranteed, meaningful salary increase for Oklahoma’s educators,” said Taylor.

“We’ve made some progress during his term in office, but all too often that progress has been like this year’s proposal,” said Taylor. “It hasn’t been a guarantee and thousands of teachers have received less than the promise, all the while the public thought the Governor was addressing the issue. This needs to be the year that the promise is guaranteed.”