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YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) – The Yukon Public Schools Board voted to pass a $1,000 stipend for their full-time staff.

“I got a text message from a friend last night saying hey we’re getting a stipend and I’m like … are you serious?!” said Yukon’s teacher of the year, Sandy Winn. 

2020 was a school year unnlike any other for Winn and her fellow teachers.

“Teaching remotely, having students in person, and then teaching remotely again, it was very very challenging,” she said. 

Winn says even this year brings its own set of challenges. 

“I feel like it’s been even more difficult this year, transitioning back trying to be regular again,” she said. 

So this bonus, she says, is reassuring. 

“I think we’re just mentally drained and I think this is a push we needed,” said Winn. 

Each of the 600 full time staff members at YPS will receive that $1,000 stipend, and most part-time staff will receive a prorated amount. 

The superintendent says when you had in part-time and support staff, they’ve got around 1,300 people. 

“It’s part of our recruiting and retaining quality educators and quality support staff that are so important for these young people in our schools,” said superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth. 

The money comes from the CARES Act funds allocated to the district. 

“It’s important that we use it in the right way … and what’s more important than the people that teach and serve our kids?” said Dr. Simeroth. 

Winn says it has been hard to stay motivated, getting back on your feet all day for in-person learning while still focusing on the kids who are remote learning in quarantine. 

This bonus, she says, couldn’t come at a more perfect time. 

“Our kids are resilient, we’re resilient, we love our kids, we do it because we want to be here with them, and 1000 dollars is just icing on the cake,” said Winn. 

Yukon Public Schools reached a record number for enrollment this year, at over 9,100 students. 

They added more positions to the teaching staff, and current have nine openings.  If you are interested in applying email HR@Yukonps.com or call at 405-354-2587.