Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Says Consolidation Long Overdue


Wednesday, April 13th 2011, 6:21 pm
By: News On 6


Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The large-scale downsizing at Tulsa Public Schools is indeed historic, the kind of event that hasn't come along in the last 25 years, but Superintendent Keith Ballard says many of the decisions he's being criticized for now should have been made long ago.

Tulsa last closed down school buildings in mid 1980's, but since then has avoided both the controversy and reality of declining enrollment.

During the first official Project Schoolhouse forum Tuesday night, Dr. Keith Ballard said he's already narrowed down some of the possibilities, the first decisions he's announced under the reorganization.

Read the district's three Project Schoolhouse Proposals

"So we're beginning to make decisions, we're beginning to, the picture is getting clearer," Ballard said.

Ballard said his initial decisions are that Central High School will remain open, and there will be no schools with 1st through 8th grades in the same building.

Kids and parents are marching against school closings as the critics get more organized in trying to save especially the North Tulsa Schools.

"We are trying to save our school, our school, our community and we want to keep it that way," one parent said.

Ballard said he welcomes all the input, but he says the claim of a hidden agenda is unfair.

"Of course it's unfair, I'm doing what I truly believe is in the best interest of the students," he said. "But I am also the superintendent of schools and whether it's fair or unfair isn't the issue, you expect that in this position, but let me tell you I'm at peace and the reason is that I have been transparent like I said I would and we really are doing in the best interest of Tulsa Public Schools."

During the past 25 years of declining enrollment, the district has moved students between buildings, but never attempted what's happening now. Ballard says the lack of hard decisions has gotten the district to where it is.

"I can't answer that, I can only say that something should have happened since then and it should be an ongoing process," he said.

Related Stories:

4/12/2011 Tulsa Public School Superintendent: Part Of Consolidation Proposals Off The Table
4/12/2011 Survey Finds Tulsa Teachers Willing To Change For 'Trade Ups'

4/8/2011 District Consolidation Spurs Third Survey From Tulsa Public Schools

4/6/2011 Tulsa Elementary Parents Unite Against Possible School Closing

4/5/2011 Tulsa Neighborhood Rallies To Save Elementary School

4/5/2011 How Will District Consolidation Affect Transfer Trend At Tulsa Public Schools?

4/5/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Urging Parents To Pre-Enroll Pre-K, Kindergarten Students

4/4/2011 Tulsa Parents Fight To Keep Elementary School Open

4/4/2011 Consolidation Proposal Would Make Tulsa School Grades 1-12

4/1/2011 Parents, Kids Protest District's Proposal To Close Tulsa Elementary School

3/31/2011 Consolidation Means Possible Expansion For Some TPS Programs

3/31/2011 Tulsa Public Schools: $1.1 Million In Bonds Committed To Sites That Could Close

3/31/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Revises Dates For Forums On School Consolidation

3/30/2011 TPS Proposal Would Make Rogers High School A College Magnet Program

3/30/2011 Tulsa Elementary Teachers Hope To Keep School Open

3/29/2011 TPS Parent: Community Will Fail If School Closes

3/29/2011 Some Say Eliminating Tulsa Middle Schools Would Benefit Students

3/29/2011 Neighbors Raise Concerns Over Possible Tulsa Elementary School Closures

3/29/2011 TPS Superintendent: District Spread Too Thin To Be Effective

3/29/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Could Close Up To 17 Schools