Teacher compares pay, costs in Oklahoma, Texas
Former teacher of year, wife see a $40K per year net gain
When Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year penned a viral breakup letter to the state and announced his reluctant departure for a higher-paying job in Texas, he promised to keep advocating for Oklahoma teachers.
This week, Shawn Sheehan followed through by publishing a full, side-byside comparison of his and his wife's teaching incomes and household expenses from when they worked at Norman Public Schools and now, in public schools in Lewisville, Texas.
“There were literally thousands of comments from outsiders, insiders, educators, and critics and they could largely be grouped into two categories: `sad to see you go but do what's right for your family' and `way to abandon children, you selfish, greedy teacher, you must be terrible with finances, it shouldn't be about the money,'” Sheehan blogged, speaking about reaction to his Dear John letter in May. “The main argument from the latter group revolved around cost of living.” His payroll deductions Household bills
403 b retirement contribution: $100 Union dues: $56.40 Health insurance with one dependent (nearly identical coverage):
State tax: $166
Rent: $1,100/month, no utilities included Utilities, Internet, renters and car insurance: $490 Daycare: $700/month
Sheehan laid bare his household's monthly takehome pay, which in Norman was $1,847 for him and $2,369 for his wife, who is also a teacher. In Lewisville, he brings home $3,527 and she brings home $3,703, and they are saving money in benefit costs every month.
He also detailed the contrasts in their rent and utility bills and even their child's day-care costs and the price of gas and milk.
“I hope these numbers help provide anecdotal evidence to respond to the cost of living argument. Yes, some things cost more here in Texas. And when we begin to look at buying a house, that's going to change things, too. But at
403 b retirement contribution: $0 Union dues: $0 Health insurance with one dependent (nearly identical coverage):
State tax: $0
Rent: $1,600/month, including water, trash and lawn service Utilities, Internet, renters and car insurance: $415 Daycare: $1,044/month the end of the day, we have something here in Texas that we likely never would have had teaching in Oklahoma: financial stability,” Sheehan wrote. “See, in one year, we'll have made roughly $40,000 more than we would have. Then, each successive year after that, it'll be $40,000 more than it would have been. Three years later and we're an extra six figures ahead of what we would have made over the same amount of time. And that's the math that I think most people forget about.”