- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Recent surveys indicate that teachers at Tulsa Public Schools are leaving their jobs largely because of low pay.

Two surveys were conducted by the school district to find the reasons behind educators resigning, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/2mppmLA ) reported. One survey was conducted last year of teachers who left, and the other surveyed current staff members.

Of the teachers who left, 52 percent said their main reason for doing was a need for a higher salary. The second most-cited reason was that the teachers were moving to another city or wanted a job closer to home. The survey of current staff found that about 8 percent were considering leaving their jobs, while 3 percent were planning to retire.

School district leaders say it takes local teachers 18 years to reach what Tulsa County considers a living wage.

Gina Cattaneo is in her second year of teaching in the Tulsa district after teaching for about 10 years at Claremore Public Schools. She said that at the end of each month, she has little money left and no leeway for unexpected costs for herself and two sons, who are ages 6 and 9.

“If I had to pay my house payment by myself, and if I had to pay my bills by myself, I would be really nervous,” she said. “Because I don’t qualify for food stamps, I would definitely have to work a second job.”

School district leaders have been asking lawmakers provide more funding for salaries. District Superintendent Deborah Gist said Oklahoma school districts will continue to be out-recruited by surrounding states unless drastic measures are taken.

“For decades, Oklahoma has failed to adequately invest in education,” Gist said. “The imperative today, then, is for us to come together and take decisive, significant steps to fund our schools and pay our teachers. Our children’s future and the health of our state require that.”


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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