Here’s another story of a teacher who is leaving. She can’t live on her salary.
“Local schools are facing their new spring rite of passage — waves of resignation notices from teachers leaving Oklahoma for higher-paying jobs out of state.
“Shelby Eagan was recruited here from Missouri four years ago, but she wasn’t a hard sell.
“Oklahoma is home. My mom was born here, my grandma lived in Bristow. When I was a kid, we came here once a month and sometimes from Bristow, we’d come to the ‘big’ city — Tulsa,” Eagan said. “I planned on staying.”
“She strengthened those ties with a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and by establishing herself at Tulsa’s Mitchell Elementary School, 733 N. 73rd East Ave.
“She volunteered her own time to provide 20 to 30 less-fortunate students with dance instruction — in acrobat, tap and ballet — and this year, her colleagues even voted her the site’s teacher of the year.
“What derailed her plans?
“The realities of living on an Oklahoma public school teacher’s take-home pay and ever-declining school budgets.
“I get $2,000 a month. I had a tire go out and a health scare this year that required me to get a procedure unexpectedly,” Eagan said. “I’m 28 years old, but I did the only thing I could do. I called my mom and dad. I shouldn’t have to call my mom and dad for money — I’m a professional with a master’s degree, and I’ve been working four years.”
“Eagan said when she traveled with a group of Tulsa teachers to visit with lawmakers at the Capitol just before spring break, she shared her decision to move to Kansas City to earn $10,000 more.
“One representative tried to tell me that the cost of living in Oklahoma was so drastically different than Missouri, that it wasn’t worth it. But it’s the exact same cost of living,” she said, shaking her head. “I guess that makes for a good story to tell themselves so they don’t have to do anything differently.”
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