DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Teachers in Duncan are having to pull double duty now that budget cuts have forced them to limit the number of substitutes they hire.
For the past several weeks, school officials have been desperately searching for ways to trim their costs to get them through the end of the school year. The idea of using teachers to cover for one another, or calling upon parents to volunteer when substitutes were needed, was first floated at a public meeting a few weeks ago. It was not popular, but it's turned into the best available option.
Superintendent Melonie Hau says they are only going to use them in extreme cases where they know the teacher will be out of work for a significant time. So, for now, teachers cover for each other. Considering each class has between 20 and 25 students, it takes some coordination and juggling schedules.
When one teacher is gone, others will sacrifice their planning periods during the day to supervise the absent teacher's class. If that's not possible for every period, they'll call on an office aide to monitor the class. Students' learning is not disrupted, since teachers already have a lesson plan for the day that the fill-in simply needs to follow.
Superintendent Hau says this is not an ideal situation for all involved and wants parents to know she hears their concerns. She wants to encourage them with this bit of information about the teachers educating their children.
"Our teachers are amazing in terms of making sure that they're still hopeful and they are still making sure the classroom experience for their kids are still engaging. I'm inspired by them every day, how strong they are and how devoted they are to the children that they teach and the families they help," she said.
Superintendent Hau says it's that dedication from the employees throughout the district that have made this difficult time a little bit easier. She says with the help of the Duncan community the district will come out on top in the end.
"We're going to stick together like we always have and support one another and the children that we teach," Superintendent Hau said.
She says another way the district is saving money is by encouraging staff to shut off the lights in the gym when classes are over and use less technology when it's not needed.
Superintendent Hau says administrators meet weekly to try and figure out the best way to make cuts without hurting the students' education. She says they will have a better idea of what they'll need to change for next year, once the state legislature finalizes the overall education budget.