Ashli Sims, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Dozens of parents say Tulsa Public Schools' historic overhaul shouldn't mess with a good thing.
Grimes Elementary parents grilled the district's leader over the controversial consolidation plans.
It's the conundrum TPS is wrestling with for several schools: on one hand the schools are too small to be efficient and their neighborhoods aren't growing; on the other hand, parents say you can't argue with success.
Grimes kicked off its parent meeting by showing off some of its musical talent. Parents say this is just one of the things that make their school unique.
"Grimes is an excellent school and we offer programs here on the elementary level that other schools don't have," Lisa Morgan, Grimes PTA President, said.
Yet, Grimes parents found the word "closed" next to their school's name on one of the consolidation proposals.
"I don't really know why we're on the list," Morgan said.
District leaders say TPS is operating on $20 million fewer dollars that last year and it must shrink to survive. One of the three consolidation proposals now circulating calls for Grimes to close as a neighborhood school and an expanded Mayo Demonstration Academy to take over the building.
"We're very concerned about it," Morgan said. "You know we feel that we have an excellent school here. And for us as parents, we feel like why would we close down what's really good just to move another program in here."
Some Grimes parents argue this is a school parents want their students to attend, with 64 percent of students transferring in from other schools in the district.
"That's the school you want for Tulsa Public, well it's here!" one woman said as the crowd erupted in applause.
District leaders have tried to sell consolidation, by promising parents "trade-ups" or new benefits, like more extracurricular activities and electives.
"Trade up is kind of the key word that they're using. For our students there would be no trade-up if they went to another school. What we offer is the best," Morgan said.
Grimes does offer things that other schools don't. Tulsa Public Schools says that's part of the inequity in the district that leaders hope to correct.
If your school is holding a meeting to discuss district consolidation, News On 6 education reporter Ashli Sims wants to know. Send her information about the meeting, where it is taking place and when at firstname.lastname@example.org
4/5/2011 Tulsa Neighborhood Rallies To Save Elementary School
4/5/2011 How Will District Consolidation Affect Transfer Trend At Tulsa Public Schools?
4/5/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Urging Parents To Pre-Enroll Pre-K, Kindergarten Students
4/4/2011 Tulsa Parents Fight To Keep Elementary School Open
4/4/2011 Consolidation Proposal Would Make Tulsa School Grades 1-12
4/1/2011 Parents, Kids Protest District's Proposal To Close Tulsa Elementary School
3/31/2011 Consolidation Means Possible Expansion For Some TPS Programs
3/31/2011 Tulsa Public Schools: $1.1 Million In Bonds Committed To Sites That Could Close
3/31/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Revises Dates For Forums On School Consolidation
3/30/2011 TPS Proposal Would Make Rogers High School A College Magnet Program
3/30/2011 Tulsa Elementary Teachers Hope To Keep School Open
3/29/2011 TPS Parent: Community Will Fail If School Closes
3/29/2011 Some Say Eliminating Tulsa Middle Schools Would Benefit Students
3/29/2011 Neighbors Raise Concerns Over Possible Tulsa Elementary School Closures
3/29/2011 TPS Superintendent: District Spread Too Thin To Be Effective
3/29/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Could Close Up To 17 Schools