In The Classroom: Teacher surplus

By: Ryan Loyd Email
By: Ryan Loyd Email

DURANT, Okla. -- Rising gas prices are probably affecting more areas of life than we think. And according to one principal in southern Oklahoma, it may be the reason why he's seeing an increase in teacher applicants this year.

"It's unusual to have this many quality applicants this time of year," said Durant Intermediate School Principal Tod Harrison.

Teachers are choosing to stay closer to home, and instead of Oklahoma educators heading south to Texas, many are staying right at home to save on gas. "It's costing money and it's not affordable anymore," Harrison said.

Some teachers say when it comes to salary, Oklahoma doesn't quite compare to Texas. But 4th grade teacher Terecia Webb says, "I've always felt like I should stay here. My children are in school here. I think there's a lot of benefits to being here."

Schools across the country constantly deal with staffing issues. More often than not, however, districts face teacher shortages. It just so happens that in Harrison's school this year, the tide is turning.

KXII also checked with several other school districts in Oklahoma. Ardmore schools are facing a big shortage this year, especially in the areas of: high school math, and elementary positions (librarians, counselors).

There are no big concerns in Tishomingo, but Superintendent Ron Hutchings reports fewer candidates are applying this year than in past years.

And in Caddo, the school is not having to hire or replace anyone as of yet, so the situation looks good. However, Superintendent Richard Thomas says he'd be hard-pressed to fill positions in math or chemistry, especially, if any of those subject's teachers decided to leave.

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