Tulsa Parents Voice Opposition To School Consolidation Plan

Monday, February 21st 2011, 9:32 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- More than 100 people voiced their concerns and frustrations Monday night about the plan to close some Tulsa schools.

In fact, many people say they don't see a need for Tulsa Public Schools consolidation plan, Project Schoolhouse.

The library at McLain High School was so full, they had to keep bringing in extra chairs to accommodate the crowd. They kept streaming in: community leaders, parents, even employees curious about their school's fate.

"I believe everybody is in the dark about the TPS situation next year. Whether they're going to consolidate schools, high schools middle schools whatever its going to be," Jason Gilley said. "And I'm just trying to find out what the deal is."

Monday night's forum was the ninth forum on Project Schoolhouse, the district's school consolidation plan. Two committees are evaluating schools using an 11 point criteria to decide which schools should be combined, closed, or enhanced.

"1988 you know we went through this," Darryl Bright said.

Activist Darryl Bright and others argued we've been here before, with no results.

"I have not seen, Dr. Ballard, a clear case for closing schools," Bright said.

Many North Tulsa residents feel like their neighborhood schools are on the chopping block, because of low attendance and poor test scores.

1/29/2011 Related Story: North Tulsa Community Leaders To TPS: Don't Close Our Schools

"This is not just about closing schools," Dr. Keith Ballard, TPS Superintendent, said. "This is about putting kids in places where we can absolutely serve them better than the way we serve now."

Dr. Ballard insists the committees are still doing their work and nothing has been decided. He won't say whether a North Tulsa school is more likely than any other to be closed.

"I just can't say that at this point. I just can't say that it's likely that any place in the district. I think that would be unfair," he said.

School consolidation isn't just a TPS issue or even a Tulsa issue.  Michigan approved a plan Monday night to close half of Detroit's public schools because of budget cuts.