Tulsa Public Schools To Release 'Project Schoolhouse' Proposals

Monday, March 28th 2011, 11:39 am
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- District leaders are developing a new landscape for Tulsa Public Schools. TPS will release its three proposals for closing schools Tuesday morning.

It's part of their Project Schoolhouse initiative which aims to make the district leaner and more efficient. But many parents are concerned about what's to come.

Tulsa Public Schools Project Schoolhouse information

It's the talk of the school yard: which TPS sites will be in and which will be out. Many say they know cuts need to be made.

3/25/2011 Related Story: TPS Makes Final Push For School Consolidation

"I understand that changes have to be made if there's not appropriate funding or not enough children to fill the school," Pat Hallman, a TPS grandmother, said.

"Well, I do understand the plan to save money and I can appreciate that," Jim Brock, a TPS parent, said.

But Jim Brock says the district needs to watch which schools it's putting on the chopping block.

"But they also come to the voters last year and ask us about a bond issue," he said. "So they don't need to close the schools that they asked for money for. That would upset a lot of voters."

 TPS currently enrolls about 41,000 students. The last time the district was this size was in 1952, when they had 16 fewer elementary schools, 5 fewer middle schools, and half as many high schools.

"I do not think we have too many schools. We have a lot of children to educate. And I don't go along with cutting our schools," Betty LaCombe, a TPS grandmother, said.

Some parents are less concerned about closing schools and more concerned about the influx of students on the schools that remain.

"Right now their class size already is pretty good size and I just can't imagine like my first grader having more kids in there with their hyperactivity and trying to teach them the things that they need," TPS Parent Lachelle Jones said.

This community says they need their school.

"Other parents that I've talked to here, they feel the same way. They'll walk a mile to keep this school. They're that happy with Lee," Hallman said.

"I'm very involved," Brock said. "A lot of parents involved. This one I'm not too concerned about, but as we know, the list is wide open."

The proposals will be released Tuesday morning. Even then, Project Schoolhouse leaders say the three proposals are just a first step.

It could be one of the three plans, pieces of each, or something entirely new, that the school board could end up voting on in May.

There is also a public meeting Tuesday evening sponsored by the Tulsa League of Women Voters to talk about the proposals.  It starts at 5 p.m. at the Fellowship Congressional Church at 29th and Harvard.