Controversial ‘Teacher Signing Bonus’ is causing waves in Oklahoma Public Schools.
The bonus is a part of the state’s recruiting strategy after years of ongoing teacher shortages.
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Created by Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, the ‘Teacher Signing Bonus’ awards a signing bonuses of up to $50,000 to teachers from out of state, first-time educators, or teachers returning to the field.
Cache I.S.D. Superintendent Chad Hance says the district has received no funds allocated for the bonus, claiming there is seemingly no organization surrounding the plan itself.
‘When they start asking questions like ‘Where is my sign-on bonus?’ I don’t have an answer for them yet. I’m going to have to redirect them to the state department unfortunately. " said Hance.
Cache I.S.D. has three educators who qualify for the bonus, two fresh from college and one a Former Texas Educator.
" I don’t think it was a big part of their decision. I think they were going to be entering the teaching field either way. Doing what they were going to do what they love doing,” said Hance.
Hance says the decision has affected morale within the district, with many long-time educators feeling slighted.
“It doesn’t seem exactly going in the right direction. When you are rewarding someone coming from out of state or someone for just graduating and starting their career. When you have teachers who have been doing this for twenty-forty years, and they are not seeing any type of reward for that,” said Hance.
The standstill has many worried bonuses will fall into the district’s responsibility, which would cost the Cache I.S.D. over one hundred thousand dollars.
“The state department has said they have been reassured that these are legable expenditures. You got to believe what they say, but when you are talking about federal dollars, it’s a different type of animal.”
The delay is causing many teachers in Oklahoma to start the school year without their promised bonus.
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