More Texas teachers moonlighting to make ends meet

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 10 at 5:06 PM

DALLAS — Just before the start of the school year, dozens of veteran Dallas ISD teachers were outraged when they were barred from driving Dallas County school buses to make extra cash.

As it turns out, more Texas teachers than ever are moonlighting to supplement their salaries.

A record 44 percent of teachers reported having an extra job, according to a survey done by Sam Houston State University. Sixty-one percent said they work a second job during the summer.

Rosemary Solano has taught at the same Dallas ISD school for 11 years. Lida Hooe Elementary School also happens to be where the lifelong Dallas resident attended elementary school as a child.

She loves her job, but says every year her responsibilities in the classroom have increased. She spends many hours off the clock preparing lesson plans and grading papers.

"By the time summer comes around you’re just exhausted," Solano said.

Solano has one child in college and another about to graduate. Instead of getting those three months off that many people see as a perk of teaching, she's had to work a second job.

"You still have to get up. You still have your family," she said. "You still have to go out and do whatever it is that you need to do in order to make ends meet."

Solano is not alone, according to a survey commissioned by the Texas State Teachers Association and done by researchers at Sam Houston State University.

The number of teachers who admitted to moonlighting since the survey began 30 years ago has doubled — up to 44 percent.

In 1988, only 22 percent of teachers said they had to get extra jobs to supplement their income.

Alliance AFT President Rena Honea said the percentage of Dallas ISD teachers working second jobs may be even higher.

"They’ve gone three years without an increase in salary, but the gasoline prices have raised. Health care premiums have raised. The cost of living is higher," Honea said.

Solano only worked during the summers, but of the more than 300 teachers surveyed, many said they worked during the school year.

Most said they would quit a second job if their primary job paid more.

The survey also found a lot of teachers thinking of leaving the profession behind. Sixty percent said they were looking at that possibility, is up from 47 percent in 2010.

Solano says it hasn't come to that yet for her.

"I find it extremely rewarding personally and professionally to be in the classroom," she said. "I never want to leave the classroom. I love my students."

The online survey represented all grade levels and included urban, suburban and rural school districts.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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