Oklahoma State Representative Files Bill To Support School Personnel

Oklahoma State Representative Files Bill To Support School Personnel

A State Representative from Tulsa filed a bill to give a pay raise to school support personnel in order to help ease ongoing staff shortages.

Oklahoma State Representative John Waldron said the state needs to do a better job of supporting the people who support our children.

The Big Yellow School Bus Act applies to Oklahoma Public School Support Staff employees who make less than $80,000 and would give them a 20 percent pay increase.

“There’s a record number of kids in our public schools this year and they need someone to take care of them. We should do the right thing by investing in the people who invest time into our kids,” said John Waldron (D), OK State Rep.

The Amendment to House Bill 3724 would mean a raise for employees who worked for the school district last year, while new employees would get a 20 percent increase from the starting salary.

“How would a public school operate if you didn’t have bus drivers? How would you feed the kids if you didn’t have folks manning the lunch line? How do you keep the schools clean without custodians and building engineers to keep the schools lit and heated,” said Waldron. “There is a mood on both sides of the isle to do something for support staff workers.”

Representative Waldron worked as a public high school teacher in Tulsa for two decades.

He said the bill would allow these employees to better support their own families in an inflationary economy and could incentivize them to stay in public education.

“We’ve seen our schools close down because we couldn’t find enough of these essential workers,” said Waldron.

Waldron said the pay raise will come from a general appropriations budget.

“We have people working in our schools that are making like $10.52 an hour,” said Waldron.

The first session of the 59th Legislature begins February 6 and goes through May 26.

If passed, he said the act would become effective in the fall of 2023.

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