As the shutdown continues, Mid-Del Schools has come up with a way to help some of the furloughed workers. The superintendent has offered to hire them as substitute teachers.
Dr. Rick Cobb says this is really a win-win for everyone. They need substitute teachers, and a lot of furloughed workers are looking for temporary work.
Tracy Vargas is a 19-year federal employee. She usually works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development but she's currently on furlough.
“As time has gone on, it becomes more worrisome for everyone,” she said.
This is her 4th shutdown. The last time she learned her lesson and got her teacher certification. So now, she's substituting at Mid-Del Schools.
“I think I need to do it not only, personally to get myself up and out and not thinking about what’s going on politically, to feel like I’m contributing to society at some level every day.”
At $60 for non-certified teachers and $75 for certified, the pay likely isn't what furloughed workers are used to. But Dr. Cobb says it may help bridge the gap.
“You can come work as a substitute in our schools or any other schools for a little while,” said Dr. Cobb. “And then, there’s really no obligation to keep going once the shutdown ends, which is hopefully soon.”
And he sees it as a way for community members to experience what it's like in Oklahoma schools.
Vargas says it may have inspired her to do this full time.
“I’ve loved it, I’ve loved it,” she said. “It’s a serious consideration and a career change for me.”
Dr. Cobb says their next substitute training is February 6, but their HR department will work with anyone who wants to substitute teach, to get the necessary background checks and training before then.