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The Morning Bell: $1,000 teacher pay raise offered

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A House committee adopted a measure on Tuesday that would increase teachers' base salary by $1,000, at a cost of about $50 million. Teachers will receive the pay raise even if they already are paid more than the minimum, reports Dale Denwalt in The Oklahoman

“That is not enough to incentivize future teachers or current teachers,” Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, told CNHI's Janelle Stecklein.

House members previously pushed for a $3,000 pay raise as early as last week, but another breakdown in negotiations stalled that bill and the revenue that would have paid for it.

--END TO COLOR INK? Two House lawmakers, state Reps. Tom Gann, R-Inola, and Rick West, R-Heavener called on Gov. Mary Fallin to abandon her push for tax increases this special session. In a news release, the pair instead asked to focus on eliminating government inefficiencies.

Among unused assets and purchasing decisions, they cited a Department of Education decision to use color ink instead of black and white in printers, a cost estimated to be $100,000.

--A popular principal remained on paid administrative leave Tuesday, a week after being removed following a student protest at Northeast Academy for Health Sciences and Engineering.

The attorney for Sue Starr told The Oklahoman on Tuesday his client was placed in a "no-win situation" by Oklahoma City Public Schools when the district decided to relocate several employees — including Superintendent Aurora Lora — to Northeast. Tim Willert has more

--HALLOWEEN LESSONS: Teacher says there's much to learn from a catapulting pumpkin, reports KTUL

--SEX ED: Oklahoma is No. 2 in the nation when it comes to teen pregnancy, and rural areas have the highest rates. Sexually transmitted diseases are also on the rise, with a syphilis outbreak in Oklahoma City and some areas of Tulsa with STD rates nine times the national average. These facts are some of the reasons why the Tulsa World's Ginnie Graham wrote that sex education should be an important part of any school curriculum. 

"To address these issues, Tulsa and Oklahoma counties launch nonprofits, services and marketing campaigns. In rural Oklahoma, it’s more difficult to rally such resources," Graham wrote. "It’s why small-town school boards approving science-based sex education prevention programs ought to be commended."

--Young girls in Ardmore now have another resource available to them to nurture self-confidence and good character. Those enrolled in kindergarten through fifth-grade may be mentored through the nonprofit Restoring Lives organization as part of a new program called Be BLUE, reports the Ardmoreite

“It was basically about learning to be yourself,” said Aysia Higgs, an assistant with Restoring Lives. “You can’t be a red crayon or a green crayon if you’re a blue crayon.”

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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