OKLAHOMA CITY - Phreed Evans is a teacher at Millwood High School. Like many teachers his job is his passion.
“None of us are in education to get wealthy but we don’t want to live just above the poverty line,” said Evans.
He says lack of support and lower than average pay are constant frustrations.
That’s something teachers aren’t dealing with in surrounding states.
Those districts are actively recruiting Oklahoma teachers. Dallas ISD is holding interviews in Oklahoma City this week.
“To hear that someone from outside the state is coming in to offer something to us that we should be getting at home is frustrating,” said Evans.
Dallas schools promise teachers more money in their first year on the job than they could hope to make with 25 years of classroom experience in Oklahoma.
“We are definitely at a crisis level as you see Dallas coming to Oklahoma and offering a beginning pay at $51,000 vs. Oklahoma at $31,000. Plus, they can offer signing bonuses which Oklahoma schools can’t. We just can’t compete anymore,” said Shawn Hime, the executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
He says it up to lawmakers step up and do what’s right for teachers.
“There has been nothing I have seen in this building that shows that it’s actually going to happen,” said JJ Dossett.
Dossett is a freshman senator on the education committee.
“What we are doing is talking about raising teacher pay but without a funding source. There is not revenue for it. We need to pass a revenue bill and then pay teachers more. Because to say we are going to pay them more with the same money doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
Evans agrees it doesn't add up but it’s the type of math teachers are used to doing.
“We don’t want to be strapped in the classroom thinking, 'can I pay my bills? Will I be able to send my son or daughter to college?'”