Anonymous Donation To TPS Will Save 45 Teachers' Jobs

Tuesday, June 19th 2012, 5:32 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools got some partial relief from budget cuts Monday night, after an anonymous donor gave $1.2 million to help pay teachers.

It's the second major donation to make up for cuts from the state.

Superintendent Keith Ballard said he's got a simple pitch when it comes to asking for money.

"I won't ask you for it after next year," said Ballard. "I need one more year to do everything I can to restore cut funds to education."

As the Superintendent, he has collected $1.8 million dollars to pay 45 teachers for the next year.

They'll face being cut again next year, unless the legislature decides to beef up the education budget.

"We have another year to make that happen. It was either accept that fate or do whatever we could to stave that off for another year," Ballard said.

The Tulsa donations surpassed the effort by parents in Jenks, who collected $1.1 million to pay teachers.

And it followed projects at several individual Tulsa schools, like Eliot Elementary, where parents raised money to pay, third grade teacher, Brian Banfield.

With the two major donations, Tulsa public schools can pay 45 teachers for a year.

The district is leaving some administrative jobs unfilled, freeing up money to pay 18 teachers.

That's 63 of the 75 teachers who were to be cut, and that means Ballard is still asking for handouts, and still criticizing the legislature for making it necessary.

"We were so hopeful that, when revenues returned on the state level, that just a fraction would be returned to the education budget and that didn't happen," Ballard said.

This week, Tulsa started summer school in conjunction with the training of new teachers.

The donations will allow Tulsa to keep hiring new recruits to replace retiring teachers, with the exception of the dozen spots still empty because of state budget cuts.