Don Barr and Nathan Larson were less than four years into their teaching careers before they decided to quit.
They felt a contract agreement between the teachers union and the district was far from being reached and weren't sure if step increases were going to be a guarantee each year at MAPS. ??
"There doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. As far as okay I'm kind of struggle to make ends meet right now," says Barr. "When is that going to end? In Marquette, I'm not quite sure."
Both say they weren't making enough money to live off and couldn't make ends meet. Barr says his take home pay every two weeks was 700-dollars, but it wasn't even enough to afford an apartment.
"I can't and if I didn't have some help from some of my family members I'm not sure where I would be living," says Barr
He says one check is basically all spent on student loans. And between a car payment, gas, cell phone, food, clothing, and supplies he'd spend around 900 dollars each month.
"You're paying your student loans back which are incredibly expensive and then you got a car, you're trying to save maybe buy a home in the district some day," says Barr. "I mean it's like you're living pay check to pay check."
While they love teaching their decisions to leave were purely financial. Larson says across the state teachers are getting hit hard with higher healthcare costs, no wage increases, and fears this trend will continue in the future.
"Not enough to start a family, not enough to buy a house, not enough to live comfortably. Not enough to just stay on top of things," says Larson
Both Smith and Larson have decided to go back to school. They're working on getting degrees in computer science.