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New School Year Begins

The school bell rang in a new year for thousands of area school children Wednesday. Students in Catoosa, Glenpool, Sperry, Sand Springs and Tulsa Public Schools returned to their respective classes. Other area districts re-open between now and August 19th.

Everything was in place to assure a safe first day back for thousands of Tulsa public school children. Tulsa police watched over some of the district's 110 school zones, reminding drivers to slow down. "Most of them are doing pretty good, said Terry Woodard, Tulsa police officer. "We've just had three or four of them this morning who've come through pretty quick."

School officials toured buildings early and reported things running smoothly, except for something no one needs right now: air conditioning problems. "We fix them one day and another goes out," said Robert LaBass, TPS assistant facilities director. "We have so many units at each school and some of them are very old. It takes a lot of upkeep to keep them going."

Hard to say for sure what kids really think about school starting, but the kids at Foster Middle School appeared excited, at least about lunch.

Schools won't know attendance figures until next week. But one thing they do know is Tulsa's school population is growing fast and needs more teachers, especially in special education, math and science. "We were 50 short this morning and I think probably now we're 30 short, because even as we speak, we're hiring all the time," noted Dr. John Thompson, TPS superintendent.

School officials urge parents to talk with their kids about their first day of school, encourage them, and set school as a high priority. "Just lay the law down," said Thompson. "Hey, you're not going to watch TV until you do your homework. No music until you do your homework. Homework comes first. I think those kinds of reinforcements plus being at school when they can, and just being enthusiastic about their year will help a great deal," he added.
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