Owasso Teacher Leaves State For Higher Pay
OWASSO, Oklahoma - Another Oklahoma teacher is crossing state lines to work less and get paid more.
Blake Collins tells me he never thought he would leave Oklahoma.
But when a job opened in Arkansas offering him thousands more to keep doing the job he loved, he couldn't pass it up.
"When I told them I was leaving, I just broke down and cried like a baby," Collins said. "There is just so much that goes into them and then to turn around and to leave, that's been really hard and it's still, obviously gets me a little choked up just thinking about it."
Collins has taught in Owasso for 12 years. He teaches art, but his passion is coaching his cross-country team.
"To get to see them compete for state championships and just be on the highest level here in the state of Oklahoma, that is what kind of drives me," Collins said. "So it has been a lot of fun doing that."
But Collins is moving with his family to Arkansas for a $8,000 raise, working fewer hours.
"It's not easy short-term to go but if you look down the road, long-term, you know we both have 20 years left to teach and that's a a lot of money you are giving away just to get to stay in Oklahoma," Collins said.
And Collins said the money wasn't the only reason he made the choice to move.
"It's just this constant sense of frustration and and you feel like there is really no hope at the end of the tunnel, no light at the end of the tunnel," Collins said. "You're not gonna find any better people than in the state of Oklahoma, I just hope at some point the state will realize what they are doing, to not only the educators but the kids."
And for teachers staying in Oklahoma, Collins hopes they can just stay focused on the kids.
"Who knows if it's ever gonna get better, I don't know," Collins said. "It sometimes doesn't feel like that. I think it's just, if you are staying make the best of it."
Collins starts his new job in Arkansas at the beginning of August.