Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Recommends Closing Schools

Tuesday, January 7th 2020, 3:43 am
By: Tess Maune

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist has officially recommended closing four elementary schools.

Gist made a proposal to Monday night during a board of education meeting as the district works to make up a $20 million deficit.

The school board meeting Monday night lasted five hours, going until almost 11 o'clock last night. After the superintendent presented her proposal, parents spoke up to share their opinions.

Gist said 75-percent of the cuts would happen at the district office and service level, but told News On 6 that closing and consolidating schools would save a little more than $2 million.              

She wants to close Wright, Mark Twain, Grimes and Jones Elementary schools.              

The meeting agenda showed each of those schools has less than 350 students, and it costs more per student than other schools.             

TPS said Wright, Mark Twain, and Grimes are not at capacity. The district said Jones is over capacity and that consolidating would ensure more sufficiently-sized student bodies.               

For about two hours after the meeting, many parents let the school board know they're not happy with the plan to close schools.

“The community meetings and the school closure meetings were just a dog and pony show,” said parent Greg Jennings. “The Superintendent would have never put this before the board unless she was sure that the board was going to vote to approve it. It was a done deal before the meeting started."

The board did not vote on the proposal Monday night. That likely won't happen for another two weeks.

TPS said if the board approves the plan to close and consolidate schools, the district will contact parents the next day and the changes would not take effect until the 2020-2021 school year.

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