Guymon Daily Herald

Stitt backs GOP plan for education


Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday he backs a Republican plan that increases teacher pay and adds $500 million in education spending.

“It’s been a great session so far. We’ve got a lot of momentum right now with the House and with the Senate and looking forward to some good policies,” the second-term Republican governor said in a news conference. “The four things I always focus on: education, making our education system top 10, the economy, roads and bridges, and health care.”

Stitt’s education plan announced Thursday would give teachers a $2,500 pay raise if it passes the Legislatur­e.

“We need to promote that profession in Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “The magic happens when the best teachers are recruited to our state and they’re teaching our young people in the classrooms however they’re designed.”

Stitt said teachers haven’t received a pay increase since 2019, but the “devils are in the details.”

“Unlike what some of the naysayers said in our campaign,” State said, “they (say) we’re sending our flyers saying Stitt was going to close your rural school. Which, by the way, we need some transparen­cy in that,” Stitt said. “But we want to promote those rural schools. We want every kid to have access to the best education possible regardless of their economic status, their ZIP code, or where they live in the state of Oklahoma.”

The House Appropriat­ions and Budget Committee passed a bill Thursday that would give “refundable tax credits to students not participat­ing in public education, in amounts of $5,000 per child for private school attendance and $2,500 for homeschool attendance.”

House Democrats voted against the measure.

“We are creating two

systems: Public schools who take every student and private schools who take the students they choose,” Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, said in a statement. “It is unethical and inequitabl­e.”

Republican­s said they have broad support for the plan.

“We are excited about it,” House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said at a news conference Thursday. “We are not claiming this to be a perfect piece of policy but we consider it to be a great piece of policy.”

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