OK Districts Urge Families To Prepare As Teacher Walkout Approaches

Monday, March 19th 2018, 1:34 pm
By: News On 6

With a planned teacher walk-out only two weeks away, Tulsa Public Schools sent a letter to parents Monday explaining the district's plan if the walk-out happens April 2nd.

TPS confirmed it will make up any missed days at the end of the school year just like snow days are. And, while most buildings will be closed, some will open so students can take the SAT.

But district leaders said they hope it won't come to the that.

As Oklahomans anxiously await a resolution to the education crisis, communities are preparing for what could be a long battle with legislators.

"So, no matter how you're looking at it, it's problematic for all of us. We don't want to do this," TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said.

TPS administrators have promised to support teachers in the fight for higher pay and will shut down indefinitely until teachers and legislators come to an agreement.

Special Coverage: School Shutdown

Meanwhile, thousands of students and parents could be left in limbo.

"We've already had organizations step up to say that they want to help and they want to help provide some supervision for children when that's needed and to provide food and nutrition," Gist said.

One of the organizations is Fellowship Lutheran church near 71st and Sheridan.

"We just really want to be a support to the teachers and provide a safe place for students to go to take that strain off of families and fill in that gap that our legislators have created," said community and education minister, Kara Farrow.

The church is partnering with another church and will be able to provide food and supervision for about 100 students, but, they'll need volunteers and donations.

They are just one of many groups scrambling to find a way to help thousands of students.

"You know, every day we're feeding almost 40,000 students," Gist said.

Farrow, a TPS parent herself, said the walk-out will take a village, and she’s encouraging parents and community members to step up and do what they can.

"Everybody in the city of Tulsa will be affected by this," she said.

The district will feed children at about 70 non-school sites around the city but the only transportation provided will be for students taking classes at Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Community College.

TPS said, as of right now they will be able to keep support staff on the payroll for at least one week after the shutdown but not any longer.

Bartlesville schools also sent a letter to parents urging them to plan ahead for the possible shutdown.

The district said it’s finalizing plans to offer free breakfast and lunch at most elementary schools.

It said the Bartlesville YMCA’s elementary school age care program will be expanded to offer full day care to students who are already enrolled.

The program will operate up to 10 days at several elementary schools.

TPS Letter To Parents: