More Cuts To Administration Could Keep TPS Students 'In The Dark' Longer

Tuesday, April 11th 2017, 6:49 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools is trying to figure out how to trim millions from the budget. A survey shows the number one cost-saving option people want to see is cutting administration.

Of the more than 18,000 people who responded to TPS's budget survey, most found cutting district-wide duties the most acceptable, but that could mean your kids are in the dark.

4/5/2017 Related Story: TPS Superintendent Makes Recommendations On What To Cut

There's grass to mow, too many lights and clocks to count, and walls that won't paint themselves.

"We may not be in the classroom as teachers, but we are supporting the classroom," said Sue Ann Bell with maintenance and operations.

District office staff are principals, custodians, bus drivers, IT, and student services.

Marty: "Have things been consolidated to this site?"
Bell: "Yes, over the past 10 years we've seen a lot of consolidation."

To serve 40,000 students and make these values possible, like excellence, it takes 1,000 district office positions working in 90 buildings, maintaining 38-million square feet, and just last year more than 100 of the positions were cut.

Electrician Steve Gilford has been keeping the lights on for the district for 30 years.

"Because of the less people we have, they want you to do more with less," he said. “Our first priority, I would think, is for the kids."

There once were 20 electricians, now there's 10.

"So now they're taking on and doing more," Bell said.

Paint shop foreman Robert Thompson relies on the extra help.

"The carpet and tile guys might go help them, the glass guys might go help them," he said. “We do everything.”

Bell said 30 percent of her staff have been cut in 10 years - but each year 40,000 more work orders are added.

"The kids may be in the dark a little longer, the water may be out a little longer, and that's just not acceptable," she said.

All the workers account for just 10 percent of the district's budget.