Lawmakers fail struggling Ardmore teacher - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Lawmakers fail struggling Ardmore teacher

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Ardmore music teacher Robing Spriggs said she must work two jobs to make ends meet. (KTEN) Ardmore music teacher Robing Spriggs said she must work two jobs to make ends meet. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- Oklahoma teachers say they've been let down once again by state lawmakers after a revenue-raising bill known as Step-Up Oklahoma  failed to make it through the House on Monday night.

Robin Spriggs, a music teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Ardmore, said she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl. But she never considered the financial hardship it would entail.

"I really felt that it would be a job that I would be able to make a living and be able to sustain ... without going to get a second job," she said. "I've worked at Mercy Hospital going on 10 years in May as a PBX operator and answering the phones."

It has also been a decade since educators in the state have seen a pay increase.

"It puts me working 12 days straight and then being off for two days, and I get a little tired," Spriggs said.

State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-District 48) said the $5,000 teacher pay raise that would have stemmed from House Bill 1033 would have put educators at the regional average.

"The job that we needed to do wasn't completed,"Ownbey said. He believes a bill passed in the early 90s is to blame. It requires revenue-raising legislation to get a super majority to pass.

"The three-quarters vote requirement is just killing us... we just can't do it," Ownbey said.

A revenue-raising bill hasn't been passed since that requirement was instituted. But Ownbey said a movement to end that rule is in the works.

Either way, Spriggs said she'll keep doing what she is called to do, no matter how hard it gets.

"You come to school and you see the little faces, you're able to be a part of their life," she said. "Even though there are some people who don't appreciate you, you are very needed and very appreciated in the place that you are planted."

Another revenue bill was expected to go to the House on Wednesday. Ownbey said lawmakers against the bill were concerned with raising taxes on wind energy companies and losing tobacco business to surrounding states because of tax increases.

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