NewsOn6.com & Ashli Sims, News ON 6

TULSA, Oklahoma – The Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools gave the community a sneak peek of his final consolidation proposal at a forum at Clinton Middle School Thursday evening.

Parents, students, and teachers are all anxious to find out what will be included in the final plan.

Dr. Keith Ballard didn't give any specifics at Thursday night's forum, but did highlight three areas:

"The sixth,seventh, and eighth concept is absolutely phasing out in America, because of what effect its having on sixth graders. That's going to be reflected in my final recommendation," he said.

Among Dr. Ballard's highlights Thursday night were:

  1. Bringing 6th grade back down to elementary schools, grouping pre-k through 6th grade together.
  2. Looking into a 7th through 12th grade configuration.
  3. Expanding language immersion programs

Ballard said he expected about a dozen schools to close. That's a sharp contrast to the 23 that were listed under one consolidation proposal.

He said the district would save about $5 million under the final proposal.

"The proposal we have come up with is a blend of financial efficiency because we need to do that but its also a blend of instructional efficiency," he said.

Ballard will announce his final recommendation Friday morning.

Many elements found in the original three plans have now been ruled out.

  • Ballard has promised to keep Central High School and Peary Elementary school open.
  • He's also tossed out plans to relocate Thoreau Demonstration Academy at Nimitz Middle School.

The new Rogers High School featuring an early college program seems to have gained traction with administrators and parents.

Ballard says he's taking all of the factors and the feedback into account.

"No one particular piece of information is going to make the decision," he said.  "You have to look at everything in its entirety. And certainly whatever you do at the end you need to justify why you're doing it."

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