(Today’s Education Watch newsletter was written by one of Oklahoma Watch’s summer reporting interns, Yasmeen Saadi.)

This fall, public school teachers in Oklahoma will receive pay raises between $3,000 to $6,000, depending on how long they have been teaching. These raises will account for $286 million of Oklahoma’s $785 million education funding package, agreed on in May. 

With the package being the latest in Oklahoma’s education funding, here is a look into how the state’s teacher pay and per-pupil spending has changed over the past few years.

According to the National Education Association’s ‘Ranking of the States 2022 and Estimates of School Statistics 2023’ released in April, Oklahoma ranked 38th nationally for average public school teacher salary at $54,804. The national average public school teacher salary for 2021-22 was $66,745. 

Final data is not in yet for the 2022-23 school year, but the report estimates that the average Oklahoma teacher will earn $55,541 in pay and benefits. This would mean a 23% increase in teacher pay over the last 6 years.

However, Oklahoma’s average pay is still over $10,000 less than the estimate for the national average classroom teacher salary at $68,469. 

Per-pupil expenditures are another area in which Oklahoma has consistently ranked low in education. These expenditures are calculated by taking the amount of money a district spends on students during the school year and dividing it by the number of students in the district. This can be calculated using either the number of students counted at enrollment or the average number of students attending school daily, which is often lower.

More spending per student correlates with higher test scores and graduation rates, according to research done by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In 2021-22, Oklahoma’s per-student spending by fall enrollment was $10,951, ranking the state 46th nationally. In comparison, the average per-pupil spending nationally was $15,368. The national average is projected to increase by 4.6 percent to $16,080 for the 2022-23 school year. 

Based on average daily attendance, Oklahoma was ranked 45th in the nation for per-student expenditures at $11,852 in 2021-22. While the overall ranking was low, this spending showed a 9.5% increase in expenditures from the 2020-21 school year.

As the funding through the new education package is implemented, we will continue tracking the changes in teacher salary and per-pupil expenditures. Any questions or comments on the topic? Reach out via email or direct message.

— Yasmeen Saadi

What I’m Reading

  • Check out this list of organizations offering back-to-school giveaways in the Oklahoma City metro area. [The Oklahoman]
  • Schools are still struggling to recover from pandemic learning loss, but the loss provides an opportunity for tech companies to profit. [ProPublica]
  • A Texas art professor uses art to honor the kids lost in the Uvalde school shooting. [Texas Tribune]

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