Tulsa Public School Leaders Speak About Budget Cuts

Monday, December 9th 2019, 10:30 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Tulsa Public School leaders spoke for the first time Monday night about how they're proposing to cut $20 million next school year.

The school district said they're proposing 75%, which is roughly $14 million worth of the cuts to come from district office services. Most of the cuts, $13-$14 million are proposed to come from district office services.

That includes departments like campus police, IT, and the superintendent's office. It means some positions will be cut, but the district said they won't be announcing which ones until at least January.

The cuts are focusing on making operations more efficient, like saving around $1.5 million by changing worker's compensation claims.

“Cut at the top and bring it down,” said Tiffany Smith.

Special ed teacher and parent Tiffany Smith is most concerned about schools closing.

The school district announced last week they're possibly closing three schools and consolidating one along with restructuring grades at some schools, that'll save $2-$3 million.

"$20 million is a lot but I don't think closing the schools is the answer,” said Smith.

Parents like Kelsey Royce, who has twins in 5th grade, agrees and said she wishes the district would have dealt with the issues earlier.

"There are many effects. It's not just the schools, it's the children at the schools that have proposed to close,” Royce said

The final cost-saving proposal is to increase class sizes in elementary schools by 1 student for an average class size of 24 to 1.

The school district said none of the proposals are set in stone and there is still room for change.

“These recommendations will have as limited an impact on students and teachers as we could possibly have come up with,” said Dr. Deborah Gist.

The school board will not vote on these proposals until the end of January.

There will be three more meetings this week and meetings at schools they propose to close next week.

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