Tuesday night the Lawton Board of Education voted on and approved a budget for the 2016-17 school year, a budget that included a little more for members of the support staff of local school, as well as a little in the pay envelopes to help teachers pay for classroom supplies.

The school board approved a 25 cent an hour pay increase across for employees on the support salary schedule, a $100 allocation for each certified classroom teacher and an increase to the district's minimum wage, making it $8 an hour. This stays in line with the school board's plan to address all three of the district's major pay scales. This is the second step, after dealing with extra-duty pay in the 2015-16 budget.

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According to superintendent Tom Deighan, the focus this school year is on support staff and other noncertified employees. The increase for this year will be $250 to $400 a year for most permanent support personnel, depending on how many hours they work. Total cost to the district is an estimated $355,000 this year. The rise in the minimum wage, which will affect substitute teachers and temporary employees is expected to cost the district and estimated $48,420.

The remaining core, still waiting for a pay increase is certified employees. The superintendent noted that it is difficult to make a decision on teachers and other certified employees until after the November election, where a 1-percent sales tax increase is in front of voters. If passed, the sales tax increase will provide raises for teachers.

In the meantime, the district is allocating a $100 per teacher stipend, which will help educators pays for classroom materials and supplies. The payments are part of payments that schools began receiving last year, and are expected to cost the district an estimated $93,000.

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