LEWISVILLE (CBSNEWS.COM) – The average teacher in Texas makes about $52,000 per year but just next door in Oklahoma, educators are paid about $45,000. That pay gap is forcing teachers in Oklahoma, ranked 49th among states for teacher pay, to relocate across the Red River to Texas and other states, creating a teacher shortage.
According to a 2015 study, Oklahoma loses about 13 percent of their teachers a year to low pay with many of them turning to out-of-state jobs. Teachers there entered their ninth day of striking Thursday over low wages.
“Our problem for decades has been, we haven’t been able to retain teachers because they could drive right across the border,” said Shawn Hime, the executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
Math teacherwas Oklahoma’s 2016 teacher of the year. Last year, Sheehan, his wife Kaysi, who teaches English, and their daughter Scarlett, relocated to Lewisville. He said that move immediately upped their combined salary by about $38,000.
“Month after month we were in the red. This is was with rent and daycare, before even groceries and diapers and so we were living off of our credit cards for the longest time,” Sheehan said.