Deaf education teachers at Lubbock Independent School District each travel 600 miles a week throughout Region 17. Every mile they drive is like tossing a quarter out the window and it's forcing them to make changes. Valerie Kochis, Itinerant Deaf Education Teacher, says, "If prices start to go down, I'll wonder what facade we're living in, but it would sure make things a little easier."
Valerie travels every day for her job and LISD reimburses a set amount per mile for travel, but that amount used to cover oil changes and wear and tear so she didn't mind driving her own truck. She says, "With gas prices going up, the mileage we get paid covers the gas just barely."
Now, Valerie and teachers like her are making sacrifices, streamlining their routes, using e-mail and the telephone to solve problems instead of driving to the school, packing their schedules with students back to back to back. She says, "I used to go to Plainview on Tuesdays and Thursdays to see my kids in Plainview. This year I'm cutting it back and only going on Tuesdays. I leave my house at 6:45 a.m. and probably won't get home until about 5:30."
Valerie is even cutting back her personal expenses to make sure she has enough money to put gas in her truck, but she says she will never cut back on her student's education. "We may be on rollerskates and it may take a lot longer to get to Floydada, we may be on a mo-ped, but we're gonna do what it takes to do our job."
Valerie says LISD is doing everything they can to help. They have raised their reimbursement rate. She also says they will not pass their costs along to the districts who contract their services.
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