Community Praises, Criticizes Tulsa Public Schools Consolidation Proposal

Tuesday, April 26th 2011, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- In less than a week, the Tulsa School board will vote on how to reshape the district. But Tuesday night, the community got a chance to speak their minds.

Parents, teachers, politicians, and CEO's showed up at a public meeting at Eisenhower Elementary Tuesday night for a final chance to voice their opinions on the matter.  

Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard released his final recommendation for consolidation last week:

  • 14 schools would close and two would reopen, eliminating 6,000 empty seats and shave just under $5 million from the budget.
  • The plan would redraw boundaries around 40 different schools to accommodate displaced students.
  • Plan would also shake-up the makeup of Tulsa schools with 6th graders staying in elementary school and some 7th and 8th graders attending high school.
  • New programs, including re-inventing Rogers High School as an early college program, turning Gilcrease elementary school into a community school, and reopening Monroe with a language immersion program.

Read Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard's final recommendation

Some heaped praise on the consolidation proposals.

"As a parent, grandparent and a great grandparent of former and present Greeley students, I commend you for keeping Greeley open," one supporter said.

"Thank you for having the courage to address this very difficult issue," another supporter said.  "There is no way you can satisfy everyone, but making these difficult decisions will benefit our kids and make this district stronger."

But others voiced their frustration.

"So what we're asking you to take at is don't close Roosevelt, expand it, fully utilize it and take advantage of the resource dollars you have already spent and invested and maximize them to the hilt," one woman said.

"When my grandson asks me why he has to leave his school, so that others can move in, as his grandmother, I don't have a good reason," an opponent said.

While the Tulsa School Board mainly listened to the comments, they did talk about boundary changes within the district, which has been a source of friction for many parents.

The board said the boundaries are still being tweaked and adjusted and will not be part of what they vote on next Monday, May 2, 2011.

Related Stories:

4/26/2011 Tulsa Public School's Advisory Council Approves Final Schoolhouse Recommendation
4/25/2011 District Consolidation To Reshape Tulsa School Boundaries

4/22/2011 How Will District Consolidation Affect Tulsa Public Schools' Transfer Policy?

4/22/2011 14 Tulsa Public Schools To Close Under Superintendent's Final Proposal