Tulsa School Board Approves Schedule Changes, Athletic Program Cuts

Wednesday, April 27th 2016, 10:45 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education approved another round of budget cuts Wednesday.

It took the board less than an hour to hear presentations about the two-part proposal and make a decision.

The first component changes next school year's schedules for most TPS buildings:

  • Elementary schools will start 15 minutes earlier at 7:30 a.m., with dismissal at 2:35 p.m.
  • Combined campuses and magnet schools will go from 8:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.
  • Middle schools, junior highs and alternative schools will start half an hour later, going from 9:15 a.m. to 4:20 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said she understands this will be an adjustment for Tulsa families.

"In some cases it's a small inconvenience, in other cases it's a big change," Gist said.

But the district said this schedule not only saves $1.2 to $1.4 million, it also improves bus routes.

4/21/2016 Related Story: TPS Considers Changing Start Times, Cuts To Athletics To Save Money

Blaine Young, TPS Chief Information Operations Officer, said next school year will require 30 fewer buses on the road.

"By modifying our bell times, we can not only reduce the number of buses that are on the road, but we can improve the efficiency by which those buses operate," Young told the school board.

The second part of the proposal outlines cuts to certain athletic programs.

Golf, tennis, cross country and swimming will lose assistant coaching stipends. All high school swim teams, except Booker T. Washington and Memorial, will be eliminated. The district explained other teams have very little participation or competition.

Tulsa Public Schools will no longer fund any sports trips more than 75 miles away unless it's required by the governing high school athletic association. Booster clubs are welcome to pay for these trips as well.

Additionally, any sports events that are canceled due to inclement weather will not be rescheduled.

The district said this will save about $400,000.

Young said the district surveyed nearly 4,000 people, including students, parents and teachers. These were among the most popular budget-cut options.

"We feel really good about the input we got from the community as we face these reductions we must make," he said.

The district estimates it needs to cut about $13.5 million from its budget for the 2016-17 school year.