Fewer Teachers, Higher Class Count Awaiting Tulsa Public Schools Monday

Friday, August 20th 2010, 5:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Most other school districts have already started classes, but students at Tulsa Public Schools return to class on Monday.

They'll be in classrooms with more students and in schools with fewer teachers.

Jeff Carter is happy to be getting his classroom together because he was told last year he might not have a job this year.

"This is something that I love to do, what I've always wanted to do, so when I received that notice, it was very devastating," Carter, a teacher at Edison High School, said.

Carter got his job back, but the English department at Edison lost one position. As of right now, he'll have 38 students in his largest class.

"So when you have over 30 kids in a classroom, to try to reach every student in an effective manner, it's a very hard thing to do," he said.

With so many fewer teachers in the classroom, class sizes will be larger at almost every school. There could be some adjustments made in about 10 days, once the enrollment is certain and Tulsa Public Schools is able to move teachers between classes.

The staffing is still changing: of 286 teachers laid off last year, 275 were hired back. That leaves just 11 without work.

That's possible because TPS got more money from the state and had a lot of attrition. But it still leaves TPS with 224 fewer teachers than last year.

Once enrollment is set September 3rd, some teachers could be shuffled around September 6th. As for the promised stimulus money for teachers, because the amount and timing of it, it is still uncertain.

Jeff Carter is just happy to be back in the classroom, getting ready for a new year, that starts Monday morning.

The district is still hiring, even today recalling teachers.

The classes are still going to be large, even in elementary grades, where more than 25 students per class is common.