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Edmond Public School Board approves plan to recruit, retain teachers

EDMOND, Okla. - A local school district is implementing a new measure that they hope will help recruit and retain teachers in the district.

Edmond Public Schools is looking to fill several positions before the school year starts in August.

“We have about 85 to 95 openings right now,” said Randy Decker, Edmond Public Schools chief human resource officer.

However, finding qualified teachers has been a statewide problem.

“School districts are looking at all avenues and ways to retain and recruit teachers,” Decker said.

The Edmond Public School Board voted last week to allow teachers and administrators who live out of the district to enroll their kids in the school system.

“Now, we can recruit teachers who do not live in Edmond but would like to transfer their kids in as long as they're an employee here,” he said.

Decker said the incentive should bring in qualified teachers and would also help several teachers already on the payroll.

“This was kind of the combination of a study, which was started back in January, February, where we surveyed teachers to find out how many did live outside the district and, if given the opportunity, would they considered transferring them into the district. And, that number was 102, at that time, of students who potentially could become Edmond students,” Decker said.

The measure didn't have everyone's support. District 3 Board Member Jamie Underwood voted no on the incentive.

“It will add students without the district benefiting from any ad valorem tax dollars, which is an added cost to the Edmond taxpayers. Although we would receive per pupil funding, Edmond receives a significantly lower amount of per pupil funding from the state than surrounding districts. In addition, the administration has stated that we could potentially add over 100 students by allowing the teachers that we currently have that live out of district to bring their children. Adding that many students without adding a single teacher doesn't make sense.  I believe our administration needs to focus their efforts on retaining the quality teachers that we already have," she said in a statement.

Decker said this may not be a perfect plan but it's a good start.

“We're just trying to find the very best teachers that we can, and this may be one tool of many that school districts are having to try and certainly we as well,” he said.

The incentive starts now but, if a teacher chooses to leave the district, then his or her child will no longer be enrolled in Edmond schools.