Parents are speaking out after learning four Tulsa elementary schools could be closing to help the district trim nearly $20 million from its budget.
The schools listed for closing are Wright, Mark Twain, Grimes and Jones Elementary. The consolidation proposal would require 1200 students to relocate. The school board hasn't voted on the plan yet. It will likely hear the proposal at its first meeting next month.
The end of the school day pickup for mother of three Amanda Roher came with some unexpected news. The district sent letters home with thousands of students at Jones, Mark Twain, Wright and Grimes Elementary, saying the four schools could be closing to partially fix a $20 million budget issue. Amanda's focus went from the letter to how she would tell her children, if the board approves the recommendations.
Related Story - TPS Plans To Close 4 Elementary Schools Next School Year
"Our 6th grader has separation anxiety so bad, and the school has worked with him consistently to keep him in school. This is where they have grown up. This is their place," said Roher.
The letter left other parents like Jonathan Wineinger feeling disappointed in the district's process and shocked with the letter. He said the letter left him and other parents feeling like the district's community meetings were a formality and parent's opinions were never really taken into consideration.
"I felt in that process of when they talked about the budget being cut that it was just set up to achieve what they wanted," said Wineinger. "When TPS has wanted to close a school, it has happened."
Jonathan said all four of his kids have had amazing experiences at Grimes. He said the teachers and principal are the only reasons his family is still living in Tulsa.
"If this school closes, that will be the final straw. We will move out of Tulsa now," said Wineinger. "The enrollment numbers are what is really costing the district money. I think they have to come to face with that. I think if they don’t, they are just going to keep closing schools and driving more people away."
The district said in part, "as we work to shape a sustainable future for our district, we have identified some possible changes that would impact teachers, students and families at certain schools in our district. We intend to share more information regarding potential changes with families."