How Will District Consolidation Affect Tulsa Public Schools' Transfer Policy?

Friday, April 22nd 2011, 4:23 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Keith Ballard, unveiled his final recommendation for downsizing the district Friday morning.

His plan would close 14 schools, re-open two, eliminate some 6,000 empty seats and shave about $5 million from the budget.

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

One of the biggest concerns for Tulsa parents has been student transfers. Right now, the district has 13,000 students on transfer and as many as 15 percent of those could be impacted by the time the changes taking place.

Dr. Ballard says the district is not changing the transfer policy, but when you cut out 6,000 seats, transfers will be impacted.

Read frequently asked questions regarding Project Schoolhouse and transfers at Tulsa Public Schools

The majority questions coming in to the district's hotline for Project Schoolhouse are about transfers.

"I don't want to send them back to their neighborhood school. My husband has said that we'll move if we have to," Amanda Pitts said.

Amanda Pitts has two sons on transfer to the same school.

"We transferred them out of their neighborhood school because of discipline problems with the oldest," she said. "We fought to get them into Bell and my oldest is now in third grade, he's doing excellent."

According to Tulsa Public Schools, if your transfer student's school does not close, the transfer could remain in effect.

However, 40 schools will have boundary changes. If the new boundaries create a student population at a school that's greater than the building's capacity, transfers would be impacted.

Read all of Dr. Ballard's final recommendation

Take Patrick Henry for example. If Phillips closes and all its students go to Patrick Henry, the new enrollment would be 646, but the capacity is only 510.

That means the 201 students currently on transfer might have to go back to their neighborhood school.

"And while I say we don't want a negative impact, I don't want to mince words here there will be an impact," Ballard said.

If the school your child attends does close, all transfers to the closed school could return to their home school. The only exception could be students transferring out of low performing schools.

"Students who are on the No Child Left Behind list have the right to transfer to a school," Ballard said. "That will be taken; obviously that obligation will be met."

In Amanda's case, the district says separating siblings on transfers should not occur. If it does, the district would work with each family on a case by case basis.

Some students will have a new home school and those kids will be notified. The district's goal is to get every parent a letter with specific information for their child by May 17, 2011.