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Tulsa School Board Approves Uniforms, Schedule Changes

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The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education made some big decisions Thursday night. The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education made some big decisions Thursday night.
Some schools have already adopted uniforms. Now, all elementary and middle school students will wear them. Some schools have already adopted uniforms. Now, all elementary and middle school students will wear them.
School Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard. School Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard.
Parent Mandy Vavrinak said she doesn't object to uniforms but is concerned about students getting outfitted so close to the start of school. Parent Mandy Vavrinak said she doesn't object to uniforms but is concerned about students getting outfitted so close to the start of school.
A young member of the audience at the school board meeting. A young member of the audience at the school board meeting.

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Public Schools is shaking up school start times and wardrobes. The Tulsa school board took action on two hot topics Thursday, passing sweeping changes.

And their plans have some parents fired up. 

It's been a year of change at TPS. Some parents will find themselves in new schools, with new schedules, and new wardrobes.

Mandy Vavrinak and her family are soaking up the last bit of summer. In a matter of weeks, they'll be heading back to school, and some major issues are still up in the air.

"We are unable to plan our shopping, our lives, our schedules, because they have not made some very basic decisions like when will you be there and what you will wear," said Mandy Vavrinak, TPS parent.

The Tulsa School Board wants to add 15 more minutes to the school day and require uniforms for all elementary, middle and junior high school students.

Mandy Vavrinak says her problem isn't with uniforms but timing. 

7/7/2011 Related Story: Neighbors Fear Closed Tulsa School Sites Will Become Targets For Vandals

"I'm not opposed to uniforms at all," she said. "I think uniforms are really valuable for kids and schools. But doing it one month before school - that's really hard on parents."

All middle schoolers and some elementary school students are already sporting polos and khakis. McLain High School also adopted school uniforms, but a push to spread the trend to all high schools was pulled from the board agenda at the last minute.

The board passed the uniform measure five to one. Now, some parents will have to scramble to outfit their children with the right attire.

"Back to school is a very busy time anyway," said Mandy Vavrinak, mother of Tulsa Public School students.

"It's stressful. We're all looking for supplies and backpacks. And I think to add this on now is just unfair."

And this mom wonders if the supply will keep up with the demand.

"If they suddenly say everybody in TPS has got to have a uniform in the next four weeks, they're going to sell out," she said. "There will be no way to get what you're required to have."

Tulsa Public School administrators say they'll work with their Partners in Education to start a donation drive to help parents who may not be able to afford the new uniforms.

The board also unanimously passed a change to the school day.

Elementary students will start their day at little earlier at 7:45 a.m. and end at 2:50. Some junior and high schools will start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m., while the remaining secondary schools, will begin at 8:45 a.m. and dismiss at 3:50 p.m.

See full list of Tulsa Public Schools schedule changes.

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