State Watch

GOP lawmakers who opposed teacher pay bill voted out in Oklahoma runoff elections


Six state legislators in Oklahoma who voted against a teacher pay bill were voted out of office in their primary runoff elections on Tuesday, CNN reported Wednesday.

{mosads}Nineteen Oklahoma House representatives this spring voted against a a series of tax increases to increase funding for the state’s education system.

The tax increases were pushed through after the Oklahoma Teachers Association organized a series of extended teacher walkouts to protest the lack of resources and to demand an increase in wages. Schools in Oklahoma were closed for several days in April as teachers went on strike from April 2 through April 12.

Of the 19 lawmakers, eight lost their primaries, four are not running for office and three are leaving due to term limits, according to CNN. 

The six lawmakers voted out on Wednesday were GOP Reps. Travis Dunlap, Mike Ritze, George Faught, Jeff Coody, Bobby Cleveland and Tess Teague. Two other Republicans who opposed the tax package, Reps. Scott McEachin and Chuck Strohm, were defeated by challengers in June.

Public school teachers in Oklahoma are among the lowest paid teachers in the country, and the state’s education system has seen inflation-adjusted general funding per student drop by about 28 percent over the past 10 years, according to Reuters.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved pay raises of $6,100 earlier in April, but teachers said that it was not enough to ensure long-term education funding.

Teachers in other states, including West Virginia and Arizona, held demonstrations earlier this year demanding higher pay for teachers and more funding for public education. 

Tags Betsy DeVos

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