Chicken-Fried News: Class act 

TEACH

There might be a lot to disagree about these days, but one of the few things almost all Oklahomans can unite under is the fact that state teachers deserve more pay than they are currently getting.

The politics of the matter have been debated endlessly. Countless editorials and think pieces have begged lawmakers to do something about the need (not to mention actual teacher protests at the state Capitol). That’s why seeing any gesture to alleviate the financial stress on educators feels like a breath of fresh air.

Moore Public Schools teachers were not expecting anything other than their regular paychecks earlier in August, which is why many were thrilled to learn the school system had slipped them each a $250 bonus the day before classes officially restarted.

NewsOK.com interviewed Bryant Elementary School teacher Holly Bentley about the small but unexpected gift. Bentley is a 28-year-old single mother whose bank account was overdrawn at the time.

“Even though it was $250, it felt like a million dollars to me because I didn’t have any money to buy groceries for my son,” she said. “I had depleted all of my savings, and I was struggling.”

The bonus covered about 2,400 district employees, including 1,500 teachers and principals. Full-timers received $250 while part-time status employees were given $150.

The extra money was created through energy conservation measures like cutting back on refrigerators, lamps and microwaves.

We here at Chicken-Fried News know the bonus checks are not going to make a significant long-term impact, but in the short-term, a few extra bucks can be a lifesaver. While something still needs to be done to more permanently fix low teacher pay, we applaud Moore Public Schools for doing what it can.

“We wanted all our employees to understand that we valued and supported them,” superintendent Robert Romines told NewsOK.com.

Romines gets it. Now it’s time to convince some lawmakers.

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