Tulsa School Board Votes To Cut More Than 200 Teaching Positions
By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The board of Tulsa Public Schools voted Monday night to slash hundreds of jobs, including 224 teaching positions. And that could mean more students in your child's classroom next year.
The school board voted to shrink the district's teaching staff by 224 positions. They'll try to hit that number through retirements, but if they don't, it's first year teachers who are on the chopping block.
For a new teacher, school halls can be an intimidating place.
"I know they're just like 10-years-old, but they scared me," said Amanda Charvat, a TPS first year teacher.
Eight months into her first year, Charvat says those days are over.
"But now I'm completely comfortable and I know my kids," said Charvat.
Now that she's getting her footing, her classroom could be pulled out from under her. TPS is facing a budget hole for next year that's twice as deep as this year.
"When 85 to 95 percent of your budget is in personnel, that's where you're going to have to look," said Dr. Keith Ballard, TPS Superintendent.
The school district is considering increasing class sizes to shrink the district's teaching staff by 224 positions. They're also slashing central office staff by 173 jobs.
TPS was hoping to make the cuts by simply not filling the jobs of those who retire, but so far, not as many teachers are leaving as usual.
"If we do other retirement incentives, then perhaps we will get to that number without anyone having to involuntarily lose their jobs," said Ballard.
"I don't let myself get frustrated by it, because there's nothing I can do about it. So, I'm just going day by day, just hoping," said Charvat.
For now, Charvat is just going to keep grading papers and doing her best every day.
"Even if I don't get hired back in May or June and I don't get hired in another district or somewhere else, I will still hold my breath that something will happen in August or September," said Charvat.
The following is a summary of the site staffing plan changes the board considered:
- Pre-K - no change to 20 students
- Grades K-3 from 19.8 (round to 20) to 22 students
- Grades 4-5 from 20.8 (round to 21) to 23 students
- Grades 6 from 20.8 (round to 21) to 24 students
- Grades 7-8 from 23.5 (round to 24) to 24 students
- Grades 9-12 from 24 to 27 students