Despite Cuts, Union Teacher Committed To Staying In Oklahoma

Tuesday, May 10th 2016, 6:10 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Another school district is slashing its budget by cutting jobs.

Union is losing $5.2 million in state funding. The superintendent said the cuts voted on Monday night mean they’ll spend about $200 less per student.

And while parents and teachers can expect changes, one teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary plans to stick around, despite the outlook.

Fourth-grade teacher, Laura Latta, has been with the district for four years and said she's not going anywhere.

"I am very committed to staying in Oklahoma and providing effective education for our kids because that's what they need. They need effective teachers who are committed no matter what,” Latta said.

One way she's committing to her classroom is by spending some of her own money.

She said, "Usually the basic school supplies are provided for, but it's those extra things, like art and craft supplies, that really enhance the projects that I find myself running to Hobby Lobby for, or going to a craft store to get some of those extra pieces that I want to make the projects really complete."

While Latta's job is safe, Superintendent Kirt Hartzler said Monday's school board decision means 48 positions including teachers, support staff, and administrators, are a part of the cuts.

Those will be absorbed through early retirement or attrition.

Hartzler said, "We knew this day was coming, and, unfortunately, the day has come."

They're also looking at ways to save on energy costs.

"We're really looking at our heating and air conditioning costs throughout the year, our gas rates, even as far as maintenance of our lawns and our properties. We've got 20 facilities and we're probably not going to be able to mow as frequently as we have been," Hartzler said.

And while the grass might be growing a little higher, so will the price for the extended day programs.

Hartzler said, "It will fall on the parents - $35 a month is the increase.”

The superintendent said the money will not go toward anything else in the district but is meant to sustain the extended day program itself.

Union is also considering not busing students who live within one-and-a-half miles of their school, but nothing’s been decided on that yet.