Tulsa Superintendent Says He Misspoke About Nixing Consolidation Proposal

Monday, April 18th 2011, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma --  Tulsa Public Schools' historic overhaul is still up in the air.

The superintendent says he will release his final consolidation plan this Friday. He's also walking back plans to scrap Proposal C.

Read all three Project Schoolhouse Proposals

Last week Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard said that Proposal C, the plan that would close Central High School and 16 other schools, was off the table. Now he's saying he misspoke.

Hundreds of parents, concerned citizens, and students have turned out to sound off on Tulsa Public Schools consolidation plans.

"If you close Peary, where will we go?" students asked Dr. Keith Ballard last Thursday. 

The head of Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Keith Ballard, told Peary students they wouldn't have to worry. Peary would have closed under Proposal C and it seemed like that plan had been scuttled.

"The 1-8 and the closing of Central and all of that Plan C, really is off the table," Ballard said last week.

Now the superintendent says that was a mistake.

"I think that was a bit of a misspeak on my part not really saying exactly what I was thinking," he said Monday.

He reiterates Peary and Central will not be closed, but that doesn't mean the other 15 schools slated to shutdown under Proposal C are in the clear.

"I'm thinking that Peary and Central were out. But I was not thinking that all of the schools listed in proposal C are off the table," Ballard said.

Proposal C was the least popular plan in a survey of parents and taxpayers: Two-thirds of respondents say they don't support it.

Neither of the other two plans that have been publicized got widespread support. Plan B, which would saves the least money and closes the fewest schools, got the most support at 49 percent.

Dr. Ballard wants to assure parents and the community he is listening.

"We know what the research says, we know what our numbers are, but there is a human side to this. There is a heart of this," he said. "And there's a community viewpoint. And no, not all of the forums have been pleasant. And we are absolutely taking that into consideration."

Dr. Ballard has said all along that his final recommendation to the board will be combination of Proposal A, B, and C, plus some new ideas. We will find out those details on Friday.

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