Oklahoma Teachers Head To Kansas For Higher Pay

Monday, July 17th 2017, 6:29 pm
By: News On 6

More and more Oklahoma teachers are crossing the state line for education.

We've heard about teachers from Oklahoma moving to Texas, but, teachers are also heading north to Kansas.

Many Oklahomans are familiar with leaving Oklahoma and crossing the state line for higher point beer, but now teachers are crossing the state line for higher paying jobs.

"It wasn't because I didn't have great administrators, there just wasn't any money," said teacher Brandi Wegner.

Wegner is going on her third year in Coffeyville public schools teaching 7th and 8th graders.

She's setting up her class for school to begin in just three weeks.

Before this job, she worked in Jay.

Erin: How would you sum it up?

Wegner: "Struggle."

Wagner left Oklahoma for more money and better benefits, and she's not the only one.

"We do pay quite a bit more than the Oklahoma school districts. On average, it's about $7,000 to $8,000 for a beginning teacher. So, once we realized that, we realized we should come to Oklahoma to recruit," said Dr. Craig Correll. "We did the numbers this week and realized that 14 percent of our staff are from Oklahoma or came from Oklahoma." 

The district also helps every new teacher with $15,000 of their student loans through the Rural Opportunity Zone program.

"15,000 is $15,000," he said. 

And while Kansas has seen its fair share of state funding cuts, the state legislature has recently begun funding schools again, thanks in part to a lawsuit filed by schools against the state.

Wegner said she's glad to be here, not only as a teacher but as a parent.

She said when her family moved to Kansas, things were put into perspective.

"I was shocked to see just how far behind she was," Wegner said. 

"You're turning out kids that aren't ready for this world, whatever that might be," she said. 

Now, the question for the state, how to get teachers back home to Oklahoma.