- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Members of an Oklahoma Senate subcommittee have given preliminary approval to six bills that would raise the salaries of Oklahoma public school teachers.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education on Wednesday approved teacher pay increase proposals ranging from $500 to $10,000 a year.

Gov. Mary Fallin urged lawmakers to raise teacher salaries in her state-of-the-state speech on Feb. 6. Teacher pay has not been increased in Oklahoma since 2008 and the state faces a chronic teacher shortage as experienced educators seek higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

Subcommittee Chairman, Republican Sen. Jason Smalley, says a teacher pay raise of just $1,000 a year will cost about $60 million. Smalley says lawmakers must determine how to pay for a teacher pay increase and whether it will be necessary to phase it in over time.

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