TULSA - The plight of Oklahoma teachers has gotten so bad, some are leaving the country to take a competitive salary.
Tulsa Public Schools admitted that teacher exit survey's show low salaries as a top reason for leaving the district. They say state leaders must fix the problem. Some teachers at Carnegie Elementary have had enough.
Numbers are Deadra Kilgore's life. Math, the international language, could take the Oklahoma teacher overseas.
"My goal is that I want to own my own home and in order to do that, I need to save money," she said. "I haven't been able to do that working here in Oklahoma as a teacher."
Kilgore is searching for something we all want, but in Oklahoma she's getting less than.
"I can't even get enough money for part of a down payment in order to have that American Dream that I want," she said.
Kilgore makes $33,000 a year. She started at $31,000 in 2004, that's a $2,000 pay raise in 11 years. She says the money just doesn't add up.
"I'm treading water at the end of the month," Kilgore said.
The fith grade teacher is hoping to sign a contract with a school in China. Kilgore says medical insurance, housing, flights and triple the pay are just some of the benefits.
"The school that I'm looking at right now is about $55,000 a year and then of course housing and everything else on top of that and it would be tax free," she said.
Cathy Essley teaches down the hall at Carnegie Elementary. She spent three years in China and brought home more than $70,000.
"You're going to be make more than $6,000 a month teaching in China, plus bonuses, plus free housing," she said, "It was a no brainer."
Principal Robin Emerson knows the struggle. She was once in their shoes.
"I get it. i don't like it but I understand." she said. "I don't even know that when they're done if they'll come back to the state of Oklahoma."
If your child tells you they want to grow up to be a teacher, they may need to take to Ms. Kilgore.
"I would tell them not to do it," the fifth grade teacher said.
Below is a chart showing average teacher salary in Tulsa County. Click hereto look up teacher salary by county.
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