Tulsa Public School Students Return To The Classroom Monday

Monday, August 23rd 2010, 7:46 am
By: News On 6


TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- It's back to school for Tulsa Public School students Monday. Students in elementary, middle and high schools in the school district all got back to class at different times.

For elementary school students, classes began at 7:55 a.m.

Classes at Eisenhower and Zarrow started at 9:15 a.m.

For middle school students in the TPS district, most classes began at 8:30 a.m.

The exceptions are Clinton Middle School which began at 8:10 a.m. and Edison an hour later at 9:10 a.m.

For high school students, classes began at 9:10 a.m. The only exception is Booker T. Washington High School, which started at 8:35 a.m.

Tulsa Public School officials are excited about the new school year.

"The empty holes are where our lockers will go. New lockers are coming here. Yes, it's part of the bond issue," said Stacy Vernon, Edison Prep principal.

Vernon is ready for classes to get underway.

"It really is going to be more bare bones this year with fewer of the extras because we simply can't afford them," said Vernon.

She's talking about the painful impact of state budget cuts.

"Elective courses are always the first to go because they're exactly that, they're elective," said Vernon.

The popular driver's education course was taken out of Edison's curriculum, but core classes required for graduation are still in place. Vernon assures Tulsa parents that the 2,200 students coming to her school are still getting a good quality education.

"And that quality education will look a little bit different, it will mean fewer field trips it will mean more kids in the classes, there's no way around that. When you have fewer staff your class sizes go up," said Stacy Vernon.

Outside of school supplies, the need for uniforms could be on the rise for students.

"All the middle schools in Tulsa Public Schools wear uniforms," said Vernon.

In this economy, Vernon says more people are donating old uniforms to the school. It's a kind gesture that means somebody's looking out for families who may have hit hard financial times.

"But we do have uniforms here and they're all sized out. We have parent volunteers that come in and help us clean them. Fold them, arrange them," said Vernon.

With all of the challenges of working with less, Vernon hopes things will get better. And the money that financed popular elective classes will return.

"You just have to think at some point they will come back because everything you had in your school was important or you wouldn't have had it there to begin with," said Vernon.

For Tulsa motorists, if you drive through a school zone, make sure you watch out for crossing guards and kids.

There's been an ongoing discussion about whether some crossing guards will lose their jobs. The city of Tulsa pays for crossing guards for TPS.

The city could expect 30 fewer crossing guards for TPS. According to the city of Tulsa's School Crossing Guard Fact sheet, there are 87 crossing guards on the city's payroll.

Some of those crossing guards serve four school districts including Broken Arrow, Jenks, Tulsa, and Tulsa Union.

Some schools will now have one or two crossing guards, instead of three or four.

More than a dozen schools are affected, here is the list:

  • Barnard
  • Bell
  • Columbus
  • Cooper
  • Disney
  • Eliot
  • Hoover
  • Lee
  • McClure
  • Marshall
  • Roosevelt
  • Salk
  • Byrd
  • Skelly

Tulsa city leaders say the move balances the budget, without compromising student safety.

The Tulsa city council still has to approve the plan. Right now, it costs the city of Tulsa about $650,000 each school year to safeguard children.