The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

December 21, 2013

Oklahoma’s low ranking in average teacher’s salary gets great big thumbs down

ENID, Okla. — Thumbs down to Oklahoma’s low ranking in teacher pay (third worst in the country, to be exact).

Oklahoma teachers make an average of $44,128, according to data compiled from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at Chicago-based DePaul University.

The Washington Post reported the 2013 data, which represents the average estimated annual salaries of public school teachers.

South Dakota ranked lowest in the country at $39,580, with Mississippi slightly higher at $41,994.

Neighboring New Mexico’s average was $46,573, with Arkansas at $46,632.

For perspective, the national average is $56,383.

Although it is unrealistic for Oklahoma to hit that number, a reasonable goal would be to reach the average teacher pay of the six surrounding states: $47,690.

Speaking of teachers, thumbs up to Jessica Ransom, an algebra teacher at Enid High School, for winning the Candy Cane Cash grand prize of $7,500.

Drawn by $15,000 in total cash prizes, about 4,000 onlookers attended the annual event on the courthouse lawn in downtown Enid.

Thanks for an extra $5,000 donation by the Enid Regional Development Alliance added to this year’s $10,000 candy cane prize.

Enid News & Eagle partners with Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce in Candy Cane Cash, to promote local shopping during the holidays.

We tallied 375,905 total tickets handed out this year, with a conservative estimate of $4 million in sales.

Candy Cane Cash purchases generated $140,000 in sales tax income for Enid city government alone.

Garfield County received $14,000 in sale tax income on those purchases.

As for Ransom? She’s taking her family to Disney World!

THUMBS UP

More thumbs up to the Enid Police Department and Southside Recycling for teaming up for the annual Shop with an Officer event.

The annual program, which helps families who otherwise might not have much of a Christmas, pairs law enforcement officers with children and families to spend a set amount of money on anything they want in the store.

This year, 63 children got a chance to shop with an Enid Police Department officer or Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.

THUMBS UP

Finally, thumbs up to Lt. Col. Randall Groves, a chaplain at Vance Air Force Base, for requesting stronger ties between the Base Chapel and local pastors.

Groves proposed strengthening the partnership during a luncheon with members of the Enid Ministerial Alliance at the Vance Officers’ Club.

Thankfully, the question was met by general agreement.

He asked the assembled pastors from local churches if they would be willing to assist the base chapel in the event of a mass casualty event like a plane crash or a terrorist attack.

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