Statement from OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime on the end of the veto referendum effort:
For months, uncertainty has cast a shadow over the bold, bipartisan legislative action that led to the state’s largest-ever teacher pay raise and a significant increase in support for public education. Finally, Oklahoma’s teachers can be assured they will receive the pay raise they have so long deserved.
The teacher shortage is still growing, and the state is on pace to exceed last year’s record number of emergency teaching certificates issued. The pay raise isn’t a silver bullet, but it is key to stemming the hemorrhage of teachers out of the state and to other professions and to recruiting well-prepared educators to our classrooms.
I remain extremely grateful to the legislators who understood the value of this critical investment and to our educators who have remained committed to Oklahoma’s children. OSSBA and its members are eager to work with the next legislature and public education advocates to ensure this new investment is a building block for additional future education investment. Our class sizes are still too large, schools have too many unfilled teaching vacancies and too many academic and extracurricular programs have fallen to the wayside because of anemic financial support.
We have more work to do, but increasing teacher pay to a regionally competitive level is a tremendous start.