Community Effort Helps Bring Extra Cash To Tulsa Area Schools

Monday, August 15th 2016, 10:57 pm
By: News On 6

The community helped give Tulsa Public Schools got a much-needed boost this school year. Thanks to private donations, matched by TTCU, TPS now has some extra cash.

Seeing major budget shortfalls from the state, the district asked for the public's help this June, and many people, young and old, answered the call to Support Our Schools.

8/15/2016 Related Story: Tulsa Teachers Facing Challenges Of School Funding Cuts

TPS superintendent, Dr. Deborah Gist, said it's money that will improve the lives of thousands of students across the area.

“Just so grateful for the community effort that has been behind the support our schools initiative," she said.

TTCU president and CEO, Tim Lyons, said, "It's been really rewarding to see everybody come together."

After seeing the State's budget shortfall this spring, TTCU decided to take action.

Lyons said, "We wanted to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem."

The solution, the ‘Save Our Schools’ initiative - pledging $1 million to Tulsa area schools and willing to match donations up to $1.5 million.

8/1/2016 Related Story: Summer Fundraising Effort For Tulsa-Area Schools Nearing $4M Goal

"We stepped up and said ‘let's make a big commitment, let's see if we can get the rest of the community to join in with us,’" Lyons said.

Businesses, local organizations, even kids selling lemonade, did what they could to help.

"It's just heartwarming, but, again, it shouldn't be the case,” Gist said. “We shouldn't need our students out selling lemonade for their schools."

TTCU donated nearly $264,000 to TPS - money that will go towards helping teachers and students in the classroom.

"This is the first time that we've seen this kind of huge community input," said TPS school board member, Ruth Ann Fate. “Just, thank you. It’s, it’s beyond words.”

Lyons said, "Every one of us can point back to teachers that made a difference in our lives, so we're just giving back to them. That's all were doing."

Thirty other Tulsa-area schools - including Broken Arrow and Bixby - are also going to get money from the donations.