Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor
Senate President Pro Tempore
"This may be Governor Keating's idea of a Christmas present to Oklahoma teachers, but it looks more like an April Fool's joke to me. It's really hard to give any proposal serious consideration that suggests funding teacher pay raises by cutting school lunches, packing more kids into the classroom and firing other teachers. I'd like to think of some charitable way to describe the report, but 'crazy' is about the only word that comes to mind."
"I guess this is Governor Keating's creative way of saying he doesn't want to give pay raises to Oklahoma teachers. Suggesting that we can just squeeze the money out of existing school budgets is an insult to the intelligence of our teachers. They really deserve a more honest proposal, not some kind of accounting shell game that pits them against school lunches and other teachers."
On the Governor's proposal to raise funding by increasing class sizes and getting rid of extra teachers:
"Packing more kids into the classroom is the wrong kind of message to send. We'd be the only state in the country that is actually trying to increase our class sizes rather than decrease them. The Governor's proposal amounts to firing one teacher so you can give another one a pay raise. That's a bad idea, no matter what kind of spin the Governor tries to put on it. We already have a teacher shortage in Oklahoma. Packing more kids into each classroom and getting rid of teachers aren't going to solve any problems.
On the proposed $32 million reduction of food service:
"I don't think cutting $32 million out of our school lunch programs is a good idea. Basically, you're telling teachers they can have a pay raise if they don't mind taking some food off their students' tables in the school cafeteria. That's absurd. The next thing you know, the Keating administration will be trying to tell us that ketchup is a vegetable."