Though nestled in a small community, Duke Public Schools receives no small amount of support.
The success of the school system’s teachers, staff, and students comes from the dedication of community members who want to see their children thrive and go on to make a difference.
It’s through the Duke School Foundation that those community members have shown their generosity and community pride.
Since it’s inception in 2004, the foundation has received $447,000 in tax-exempt contributions to Duke schools from individuals and businesses with the goal to build, maintain, and promote excellence in education.
Those contributions help finance field trips and competitions. Security doors, band instruments, an intercom system, and a space for administration staff have been added to Duke Public Schools because of the donations received.
In recent renovations, a new scoreboard was donated through the Duke Foundation by Southwest Oklahoma Telephone Company to put in the school’s gymnasium and donations have benefited the Tiger football program.
But it isn’t only the students who benefit from their community’s support.
Donations received provide teachers with the opportunity to apply for and potentially receive up to $1,500 a semester through a grant to pay for expenditures that are not funded through the school.
Things like new curriculum and supplies for special projects have been funded through these grants in the past. And the compensation to Duke’s teachers goes beyond grant money. Each school term, teachers are given $100 as reimbursement for school supplies paid for out of pocket.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, starting salary for public school teachers is $31,600 with slight increases depending on years of teaching experience and education level. A public school teacher in Oklahoma with 25 years experience and a doctorate degree receives $46,000.
While the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that most states raised general funding per student slightly in 2016, Oklahoma, among 11 other states, imposed new cuts though already among the states that made the deepest cuts since 2008.
Despite budget cuts, the teachers at Duke Public Schools continue to pursue their passion for educating their students.
Recently, Susan Bull, the third-grade teacher for Duke, was nominated and made a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.
Bull said her philosophy is teaching children so that they learn as much as they can and develop into people of character who have respect for others.
“During this time of budget cuts and lack of state funding, the community pride is evidenced by the giving and investments of the Duke School Foundation,” Duke Foundation Board Member Rafe Hall said.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.