OKLAHOMA CITY — With pressure mounting, there didn’t appear to be a lot of negotiating between House Republicans and Democrats regarding a pay hike for teachers and state employees.
The two groups have said they will walk out April 2 if raises aren’t forthcoming. They have taken their concerns to social media, the statehouse and to school boards.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said productive discussions are taking place, but he put the responsibility squarely in the House, where revenue-raising measures must start and obtain a supermajority vote.
Treat on Monday repeatedly blamed House Democrats for the previous failure of proposals to fund a teacher pay raise, although several Republicans in the House also voted no.
House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, was asked about the status of efforts to come to a resolution.
Kopulen said “not really a lot” has gone on as far as negotiations between House Republicans and Democrats on revenue-raising measures that would require 76 votes to pass.
House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, was not available for comment on Monday.
“We want to deliver a teacher pay raise and we want to act swiftly,” Treat said. “And the Senate has, in a bipartisan fashion. We (the Senate) have passed more than enough money to give a substantial teacher pay raise and a state employee pay raise. We have a definite sense of urgency.
“Now, it is just a matter of how much can pass the House.”
The passage of revenue-raising measures in the Senate was symbolic because they must originate in the House.
“It’s important to remember what’s really at stake here is our children’s education and their future,” Gov. Mary Fallin said in a prepared statement. “I have repeatedly proposed and continue to be supportive of a teacher pay raise, but there is not a path forward without a responsible plan for new revenue and funding by the Legislature.
“We are continuing the discussion between the House and Senate to find a funding source for a teacher pay raise, but any proposal has to be financially responsible.”
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