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Sun Jun 17, 2018, 05:52 AM

Oklahoma teachers' salary raise in limbo following historic win

Source: The Guardian

Oklahoma teachers' salary raise in limbo following historic win

Petition backed by conservative activists targets tax hikes intended to cover teachers’ raise

Caleb Gayle
Sat 16 Jun 2018 11.00 BST

Striking Oklahoma teachers, the worst paid in the US, won a historic pay rise in the spring. Now, conservative groups have targeted the tax hikes earmarked to pay them, and by November the cash could be gone, leaving schools and educators in limbo.

In March, teacher salaries in Oklahoma were raised by an average of $6,100 a year, a raise paid for by a bill that raised taxes for cigarettes, cigars, motor and diesel fuel and the gross production of energy, and initially a $5-a-night hotel tax.

The decision, in a deep red conservative state, was heralded as a major victory for unions and teachers and came after a series of successful teacher strikes in other conservative states.

But a petition now circulating among Oklahomans and backed by a group of conservative activists could defund the wage hikes, leave the state’s already crisis-racked school system scrabbling to find the funds to pay their teachers and has already triggered confusing calls for a stay of promised tax collection increases as the situation unfolds.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/16/oklahoma-teachers-strikes-salary-raise-taxes-petition

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