Tulsa Public School Board Holds Special Meeting To Decide On Superintendent Contract

Tuesday, June 23rd 2020, 9:10 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Okla. -

The Tulsa Public Schools Board members held a meeting Tuesday night to decide whether to extend superintendent Deborah Gist’s contract by another three years.

The meeting is still in session.

Parents held a protest tonight at the Education Service Center to share their opinions. They said the agenda was only announced 24 hours earlier and they were not offered any chance for input.

Parents said they wish the board would wait on this decision because a new school board will be elected next week.

The agenda shows Board members are meeting in executive session to discuss extending Dr. Gist's contract from July 2021 to June 2024, even though it doesn't expire for another year.

School Board President Shawna Keller released a statement regarding the meeting:

"Given that a national superintendent search can last between 12 and 18 months, it is not unusual for boards of education to take action on a sitting superintendent’s contract a year in advance of its completion. This has been the practice of the Tulsa Board of Education since long before Dr. Gist became Tulsa’s superintendent. By taking action early, both the board and superintendent have the time required to build strong transition plans if needed.
The last three months have been a time of uncertainty and instability amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, and there is still much that we do not know about what the next school year will look like. COVID-19 created countless disruptions in our city, state, and country. For Tulsa Public Schools – in addition to completely upending our spring semester and creating hardship for families across our system – the global pandemic caused the Oklahoma State Board of Elections to declare an election emergency that changed the date of our Board election. At the same time, the Board of Education must continue our work as leaders of this district, inclusive of routine personnel matters that would have occurred regardless of external circumstances. We have a responsibility to make decisions that ensure stability in our system, and that means creating clarity about the superintendent who will lead the Tulsa Public Schools team into 2020-2021 and beyond."