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City Joins Tulsa-Area School Leaders To Push For More Education Funding

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Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Schools, discusses the resolution Monday. Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Schools, discusses the resolution Monday.
Most Oklahoma classrooms are empty now that it's summer break - but they stand to be more crowded in the fall with fewer teachers and the same number of students. Most Oklahoma classrooms are empty now that it's summer break - but they stand to be more crowded in the fall with fewer teachers and the same number of students.
Mayor Bartlett said well funded public schools are a measure businesses use to evaluate cities. Mayor Bartlett said well funded public schools are a measure businesses use to evaluate cities.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

City of Tulsa leaders joined Tulsa-area school superintendents at a news conference Monday to talk about the need for additional funding for education.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett spoke alongside Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard, Dr. Cathy Burden from Union Public Schools and Dr. Kirby Lehman with Jenks Public Schools.

The group is expected to sign a resolution by the City of Tulsa showing support for more education funding.

Read The Resolution

Most Oklahoma classrooms are empty now that it's summer break - but they stand to be more crowded in the fall with fewer teachers and the same number of students.

It's gotten to the point that school districts say they have no other choice than to cut back on teachers.

"We're cutting drivers-ed, foreign language, everything that we can c cut and still provide our students with basic services," Cathy Burden, Union Superintendent, said.

Monday - several Tulsa County School superintendents joined Tulsa's Mayor and City Council in asking for more money from the legislature.

Mayor Bartlett said well funded public schools are a measure businesses use to evaluate cities.

"That is a concern that they have, the quality and the support of public education for their employees, the children of their employees, that is a very key question," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

The resolution signed by the Mayor and Council calls for adequate funding. For Tulsa Public Schools, that's $3.2 million more just to keep the teachers they have.

The legislature has considered everything from more cuts to education - up to a small increase - but everything school districts have heard is to not expect a penny more than last year.

"It will be really disappointing if they close all this out and all they do is flat funding for education," Keith Ballard, Tulsa Superintendent, said. "It's really going to have a devastating impact on schools."

It's a similar story in other districts around Tulsa, which are prepared to make cuts for the third year in a row.

"To have a flat budget decreases services, increases class sizes and will cause a loss of programs," Kirby Lehman, Jenks Superintendent, said.

The budget is still being worked out at the capitol but it's in the final stages - and can go to a vote in the next day or two.

School districts are encouraging people to contact lawmakers as they make these decisions. 

Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert will take the resolution to Oklahoma City and hand deliver it to the state Legislature.

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