Senate Appropriations Committee advances teacher pay raise bill as budget negotiations continueOKLAHOMA CITY – In a bipartisan, unanimous vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday advanced a House teacher pay raise bill as the Senate’s leader said budget negotiations are progressing well. House Bill 1780 by Speaker Charles McCall would implement a $1,200 teacher pay raise bill at a cost of $70 million annually. President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is the Senate author of the bill. “As Senate Republicans have said all along, last year’s huge teacher pay raise was not a ‘one-and-done’ scenario. We are committed to investing more dollars in our students and our classrooms,” said Treat. “What senators have heard from teachers and administrators is that they want new education dollars to go into the classroom rather than into pay raises. That’s what members of the Senate Republican Caucus are leaning toward as budget negotiations proceed. However, pay raises and classroom funding are not mutually exclusive. Budget talks are going well and we’ll keep working with our partners in the House and Governor’s office to settle the final details of where new education dollars will be spent.” The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced HB 1780 with the bill’s title removed, a parliamentary move that allows work on a bill to continue before its final passage. The bill will be eligible for consideration by the full Senate next week. The deadline for House bills to pass the full Senate is April 25.