Creek County School Asking Teachers For Help Balancing The Budget
By Chris Wright, The News On 6
SAPULPA, OK -- State lawmakers are considering big cuts in education for the next fiscal year and that has schools scrambling to figure out how they'll make ends meet.
4/19/10 Related Story Massive Oklahoma Teacher Layoffs Likely With Budget Cuts
The topic at a Sapulpa school teacher's union meeting Tuesday in Sapulpa was grim, but it's a subject the group has dealt with all year, cutbacks.
"We've all known about the sacrifices for some time now. We've been making those sacrifices in our classrooms every day," said Kaylynn Horvath, Sapulpa music teacher.
The teacher union expects to make even more sacrifices next school year.
Sapulpa Public Schools has already endured more than $1 million in cuts, and it could have to slash an additional 10% out of its budget.
"If the 10% cuts in next year's budget hold true, then we'll be in real big trouble," said Carla Cale, Sapulpa Teachers Union President.
Instead of layoffs, the union hopes to use other methods to save money. Every $45,000 saved means one less layoff.
The union at Sapulpa is asking its teachers to make as many sacrifices as possible to save as many jobs as possible. They handed out a sheet at Tuesday's meeting giving them the option of taking some voluntary personal days or even donating money to the district.
"It's very hard in this economic time," said Cale. "We need our state legislature to step up and do their part and fund education."
Sapulpa relies heavily on that funding. Sixty percent of its budget comes from state aid. But despite facing the prospect of fewer teachers and larger classes, union members remain determined to weather the cuts.
"We're willing to give up whatever it takes for those kids," Kaylynn Horvath said. "If it means a little bit of money out of my paycheck, then I'll do it."
The state Department of Education says if the 10 percent cut is made, as many as 5,000 Oklahoma teachers could lose their jobs. Overall, the state is looking at a $1.2 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year.