Teacher Union Head Disappointed in Step Up Failure

Feb 14, 2018


Alicia Priest at the State Capitol
Credit Alicia Priest

The head of Oklahoma's largest teacher's organization says she is disappointed in the failure of a revenue-raising bill that included a $5,000 teacher pay raise and believes state lawmakers should keep trying.

Alicia Priest, president of Oklahoma Education Association, said Tuesday the organization's nearly 40,000 members expect state lawmakers to put aside partisan politics and gamesmanship that she says prevented passage of the measure.

The Oklahoma House voted 63-35 on the bill late Monday, 13 votes short of the three-quarters majority needed to pass money-raising measures.

The bill would have raise $581 million when fully implemented, including tax hikes on tobacco, motor fuel and energy production. It also would have given teachers their first pay raise in 10 years.

Priest says lawmakers must raise new revenue for Oklahoma's students to succeed.