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School Superintendent Resigns to Save Money

COMANCHE, Okla_ Comanche Superintendent Terry Davidson is taking a drastic measure to help his school.

Thursday was his last day for a while, as he is temporarily resigning. Davidson will come out of his resignation in 60 days, working full-time again as the superintendent, but at a fraction of his former pay. This will save enough money to keep three positions from being eliminated next school year.

Davidson said other leaders who've done the same inspired him. He said this isn't a new idea. In fact, he said there are a number of people working in his school district right now who've made the same decision. Davidson said he needs his staff, and he'll do whatever it takes to keep them employed.

The books are available, the busses are running, and the teachers are teaching.

Funding doesn't appear to be a problem, but Comanche Public Schools Superintendent Terry Davidson said that's a misconception.

"Because the impact is not immediately measurable, the perception is the cuts and funding don't have any impact at all, and that's just not true," Davidson said.

He said in all reality, they are barely making it.  Funding has decreased by $700 per student over the last five years. This means fewer staff.

"That's not counting the fact that these are real people who have jobs and are losing those jobs," Davidson said. "We need those people."

He said without them, schools have larger class sizes, which Davidson said eventually affects student achievement.

Davidson thinks lawmakers aren't doing enough to help in the time of need.

"The rainy day fund has a record amount in it," Davidson said. "So, during the last couple of years, they've actually had a surplus. We're getting a smaller and smaller percentage of the state budget."

That led to Davidson's decision to resign, saving money and positions.  Doyle Greteman, a former superintendent in numerous Oklahoma school districts and longtime friend of Davidson's, admires the decision.

"I think it's pretty noble on his part," Greteman said. "I know he could do quite better for himself financially if he hadn't done it, but I think he did it to help the school district."

Davidson said he wanted to help not only the school district, but the dedicated people inside.

"They're the same kind of teachers like the teachers in Moore that shielded their students and stood in harms way to protect their students," Davidson said.

He said people like that can't be laid off due to a lack of funding, at least not on his watch. Davidson knows this won't be a permanent solution to the problem, but he said it will at least get them through another year.

The lack of funding is also requiring Comanche Public Schools to go on a hiring freeze. Davidson said they will not fill positions lost due to retirement or other reasons for the next school year.

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