Yukon Public Schools is thriving in light of state budget woes and a nationwide teacher shortage.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth says when it comes to retaining teachers, his district is doing better than 95 percent of Oklahoma school districts. The district has felt the sting from a statewide budget shortfall but they've been able to soften the blow by trimming costs and asking teachers to wear multiple hats.
Over the past three years, the district saved around $350,000 by trimming down their central office. Dr. Simeroth says teachers and faculty stepped up in order to share the workload. The benefits trickle down, allowing the district to use the money elsewhere, like teacher pay raises.
“We try to show every teacher in our district that they are valued,” said Dr. Simeroth. “(T)hat goes a long way when you see the legislator not showing that they are valued by not increasing the funding for teacher salaries.”
Simeroth says this year, Yukon Public Schools hired 125 new teachers. They've had no school closures, no bus routes eliminated, and plan on sticking to a 5-day school week. It's a pretty good bullet on the district's resume, considering they'll ask voters to get behind a $44 million bond in September.