Broken Arrow Public Schools, one of the lowest-paying districts in the Tulsa area, announced on Tuesday a proposed pay raise that would increase a starting teacher’s salary by nearly $3,700.
The district plans to invest an additional $4.2 million directly into teacher compensation next school year. If approved by the school board, the move would provide all teachers in the district with a salary that is $1,720 above the state minimum. It also would completely fund the 7.5% mandatory employee contribution to the state’s teacher retirement fund.
The proposal is possible due to recent increases in common education funding. The new state budget includes $74 million for the funding formula to allow schools to hire additional staff, lower class sizes and pay for materials. It also contains $58.8 million for a $1,200 teacher pay raise, on top of the average raise of $6,100 approved last year.
“We are so proud to make this historic investment in our teachers,” Superintendent Janet Dunlop said in a statement. “Our teachers deserve the best, and these increases will directly benefit our students in recruiting and retaining outstanding educators.”
Officials say the new scale would pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree in their first year a total compensation of $41,348, compared to the current $37,674. The total compensation includes base salary, the district-paid retirement contribution and life and disability insurance. The base pay would increase from $34,904 to $38,321.
The step increases aren’t even across the district’s pay scale, but the vast majority of teachers would receive a raise of more than $2,500, chief administrative officer Lori Kerns said.
Total compensation for teachers with a bachelor’s degree in their sixth year would increase nearly $2,800, according to the proposed 2019-20 pay scale. Those in their 26th year would see a $3,940 boost.
The school board is expected to vote on the proposal around August, with the pay raises taking effect in the fall. But first the plan needs to be ratified by the Broken Arrow Education Association.
Kerns said the board’s goal has been to make Broken Arrow the highest-paying district in the region. This pay raise would be a huge step forward in achieving that goal.
That kind of progress is especially noteworthy for Broken Arrow, which posted the lowest base salary among area districts in a December analysis by the Tulsa World.
It’s unclear where Broken Arrow would be located on the list with the salary increase, as several districts have yet to release their new pay scales. But Kerns is confident Broken Arrow will be one of the best in the state.
“We realized we were at the bottom of the region, so with the new operational funding that has come in, it is well-deserved for our teachers to receive all of it in their salary schedule,” she said.
Actor Jason Lee talks about his new photo exhibit that is being shown at the same time as photos from Larry Clark's iconic photo book "Tulsa."