Tulsa Public Schools' year round school program

Tuesday, July 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Year-round schools in Tulsa have come full circle. Faced with a $6.5-million deficit, Tulsa's school board voted to cancel 11 year-round programs.

Now, five of the programs have been rescued from the chopping block. But at their own expense. Chouteau principal Dr. Michael Burk, "I think its a win-win situation I'm glad we're able to support the superintendent in reducing his budget and we will still have our exciting programs."

Chouteau Elementary children are among the year-round students who, despite budget cuts, will head back to the classroom in less than a month. The Tulsa school board gave year round schools the go ahead, as long as they operate on the same amount of money given to traditional schools.

Some year-round schools, like Kendall Whittier have a little extra help. Because of the income-level of their student body, they also receive federal money. Still, their staff members could be facing pay cuts. Other year round schools are taking a different approach. Dr. Burk, "There will not be cuts in any salaries we won't lose any positions -- teachers or teacher assistants. The only difference is we will try to be more creative working with companies."

Burk says educational programs during school breaks, are paid for with grant money. He says he's going to have to redouble his efforts this year to get it, but it's worth it to keep the program going year-round. And he says he’s already getting lots of support from parents and the community. "The parents are more involved and I think the schools are becoming again more of the center of the community."

Tulsa Public Schools with year round school include, Chouteau, Kendall Whittier, Mark Twain, Marshall and Penn Elementary Schools. They resume classes August 19th.

Six others will phase into the traditional calendar year beginning September 3rd. They are Alcott, Anderson, Houston, Park and Whitman elementary schools. Gilcrease Intermediate School also joins this list.