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Faculty, Staff Cuts Likely For Tulsa Public Schools

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Monday night, Ballard announced furloughs for all non-classroom employees. He will also eliminate more than 100 non-teaching jobs. Monday night, Ballard announced furloughs for all non-classroom employees. He will also eliminate more than 100 non-teaching jobs.
"If we do have to reduce the teaching force next year, it is my hope, and my intention, that it will be through attrition. That we will not have an involuntary reduction in force," Ballard said. "If we do have to reduce the teaching force next year, it is my hope, and my intention, that it will be through attrition. That we will not have an involuntary reduction in force," Ballard said.

By Jeffrey Smith, The News on Six

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Public Schools report more budget cuts are inevitable, and they will affect the classroom.

The board of education approved three furlough days for all non-classroom employees Monday night. The move is expected to save the district $325,000, but school leaders say that is just the tip of the iceberg.

TPS has already lost millions in funding in 2009. It could lose millions more by the end of the school year and millions more next year.

Officials say they're running out of options. TPS is cutting its budget left and right, but there is no end in sight.

TPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard enacted a hiring freeze and eliminated paid substitute teachers. Monday night he announced furloughs for all non-classroom employees. He will also eliminate more than 100 non-teaching jobs.

Teachers and administrators are holding their breath.

"It is absolutely a relief to the classroom teacher and to the parents that the classroom is being protected right now," Stacey Vernon, Edison Middle School Principal.

But for how long? Doctor Ballard's struggling to cut $5 million and says he could have to cut millions more by next fall.

"For every 100 teaching positions we get about $4.5, $5 million. I think next year we will see an impact on the classroom, and it will be through classroom size. There will be an impact, and that's what the impact will be," Ballard said.

Eighty-five percent of TPS's budget is for personnel, which means salaries.

"Within in a district where you have so much of its budget taken by salaries and compensation, it's hard to find enough cuts that don't affect that," Vernon said.

Ballard says more furloughs will happen, but teachers are at risk.

"If we do have to reduce the teaching force next year, it is my hope, and my intention, that it will be through attrition. That we will not have an involuntary reduction in force," Ballard said.

Ballard says when there is no money, there is no money and in the classroom, teachers are nervous about how education will be affected.

To eliminate positions through attrition, Dr. Ballard is offering a one-time, $5,000 bonus for teachers to retire and is working on a proposal that will pay teachers half a year's salary if they retire.

12/8/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools To Furlough Employees

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