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“We agreed collectively that it was the best solution,” Entire district to take pay cut to save jobs

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OKLAHOMA CITY - More budget backlash.

School districts across the state are scrambling to regroup after their budgets were slashed by the state.

Some districts, like Oklahoma City, are taking the drastic step of cutting teaching positions.

Others, like Millwood, are chopping the school week instead of cutting jobs.

The compromise could save Millwood big bucks but stands to impact teachers’ bottom line.

In Mr. Morgan’s pre-k class, students are learning about numbers and brushing up on the months of the year.

Their teachers are getting a lesson in a different set of numbers.

“Each teacher is impacted $600.”

They will have to figure out how to manage a smaller paycheck because of a 4 percent cut to the district’s budget.

“We decided the best position for Millwood to take would be for the entire staff, everyone at Millwood, from the superintendent to bus drivers, to give back three days of pay,” said Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods.

Teachers and staff volunteered take a pay cut to save the district $120,000 for the rest of this school year.

“We have spread the days out over six pay periods, so nobody’s check is hit all at one time. We informed each staff member what their deduction would be each pay check."

Millwood public schools is a pre-k -12th grade school district with about 1,000 students.

Robinson-Woods approached her staff with the idea a few weeks ago.

“I was extremely nervous,” she said.

She said she was extremely proud by their reaction.

“Teachers already don’t get paid enough and so, to go into a meeting and to say that what we promised you we can’t make good on, not because of anything that Millwood has done, but because of the state budget failure,” she said.

For Millwood’s plan to work, the district will take off four days in April, which means the month of April would have all four-day weeks.

“They understood that, as small as we are, it was better to take this one on the chin as a group than to put 11 out with someone with no employment,” she said.

The change would save 11 positions in the district.