With Oklahoma's current education funding crisis, Tulsa Public Schools says it has begun the process of laying off employees.
In an email Thursday from TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist,obtained by News On 6, the layoffs are due to a projected $20 million cut in state funding for the district.
Dr. Gist says this is a difficult time for everyone working for Tulsa Public Schools and after feedback, the district has decided to eliminate or combine positions at the school district's central offices.
"Tulsa Public Schools is anticipating a state revenue loss of up to $20 million for the 2016-2017 school year. We are in the process of seeking feedback from the community, and we are considering our options for overall cuts for next year. It is out belief - one that has been reinforced by community feedback - that we should start in the areas that have the most indirect impact on students. As a first step, we have undertake a staff reorganization that consolidates and, in some cases, eliminates a number of positions in our central office. Due to the enormity of the state funding shortfall, we will undoubtedly make additional cuts in the coming weeks. Our priority is our classrooms - we will do everything possible to protect teaching and learning at Tulsa Public Schools - but it is apparent that this crisis will impact everyone. We have taken this process seriously and thoughtfully, and we understand well the significant implications that these decisions will have on affected employees and their families. At this time, we are having conversations with those employees. We will share further information with the public after we have spoken personally with each of the team members involved."
Dr. Deborah Gist says she is confident that together, Tulsa Public Schools will get through this tough time.