GLENPOOL, Okla. (AP) — Officials in an Oklahoma school district recently surprised teachers and other employees with $1,000 bonuses as a potential statewide teacher walkout looms.
The Glenpool school district joined many area districts on March 12 when it approved a resolution "in support of Oklahoma public school teachers" and authorized school closings in the event of a teacher walkout, the Tulsa World reported.
"We're very blessed. That money could've been used for anything, and they thought of us," said Jennie Gordon, who works in maintenance and also received a bonus.
Glenpool school officials said the bonuses don't solve the bigger-picture problem of low pay, but that they did provide some relief and a boost to morale.
"It's a way for us to show our teachers, to say to them that 'we value you and appreciate the sacrifices that you make,'" Superintendent Jerry Olansen told staff at a recent assembly.
Olansen said the gesture was made possible due to a four-year district effort to cut costs.
"We were aggressive in coming up with a plan of cost-saving measures . alternative ways to save money," Olansen said.
Olansen cautions that the bonuses were "a one-time thing." He said while the district has tried to manage its resources well, the situation with statewide education funding clouds the future.
"This can't continue," Olansen said of the funding crisis.
Olansen said the response he's received about the bonuses has been encouraging.