Coffman calls Barresi’s proposal ‘political ploy’

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Aug 29, 2013 - 9:00:41 AM

Citing a need for more quality teachers, Oklahoma State Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi has proposed a $2,000 raise for all Oklahoma teachers.
Barresi made the announcement in a news release last Friday.
The proposed raises would be paid for from local district funds, not the state.
“With a $2,000 raise, we will see Oklahoma teacher pay jump past numerous states,” Barresi is quoted in the release.
School administrators need to rethink their priorities, Barresi said.
“Our shortage is quality teachers, not administrators,” Barresi told the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. “Aside from parents, teachers are the single most important factor in a child’s success.”
Marlow Superintendent George Coffman thinks the proposal is a political ploy by Barresi.
“I think she is trying to divide and conquer the administrations, school boards, and the teachers,” Coffman said. “I think she is trying to get the teachers on her side so they will vote for her in the next election.”
Under Barresi’s proposal, the funds would come from carryover from previous fiscal years and cuts in administrative costs.
Coffman is not pleased.
“You are punishing school districts who have been fiscally responsible and prepared for the lean years – and these past few years have been lean years,” Coffman said. “We’re fortunate we do have carryover, but what about the districts that don’t? What are they supposed to do?”
Coffman emphasized teachers do deserve a raise, but Barresi’s proposal is unacceptable.
“If they really want to give teachers raises, they need to have some sort of initiative to pay for it,” Coffman said. “We here in Marlow already pay $1,200 above base pay. Are we supposed to take that away?”