Members of the Oklahoma Board of Education have approved a $2.9 billion budget request for public education in fiscal 2010 that would add two days to the school year and give teachers a $2,000 raise.

The proposed budget is $479 million higher than public education will receive from the state in fiscal 2009, which will end June 30. Oklahoma school districts receive about 70% of their annual budget from legislative appropriations.

State superintendent Sandy Garrett said Oklahoma’s mandated school year of 175 days is the shortest in the nation, and a full school week shorter than the national average of 180 days. The department asked for five additional days in the fiscal 2009 budget, but lawmakers did not approve the increase.

The proposed budget includes $36 million to extend the school year by two days.

The plan includes $107 million to give each certified teacher an annual raise of $2,000, $35 million in salary increases for support staff, and $58 million in transportation and fuel increases that the Legislature has not funded for the past four years.

James White, assistant state superintendent of financial services, said even if the $2,000 raise is approved, Oklahoma would remain 48th in the nation for teacher pay.

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