Many Districts Report Lower Enrollment Amid Learning From Home Challenges

Wednesday, October 28th 2020, 9:22 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Okla. -

Many school districts around the Tulsa area are reporting lower student enrollment this year.

One mother told News on 6 that her son has special needs and she felt her school district wasn’t doing enough to accommodate him while learning from home.

Jennifer Ciruso said her son has special needs and is doing a lot better in EPIC Charter Schools. She's just one of thousands of parents who have left traditional public schools this year.

Ciruso said her son Landon has autism and ADHD. She said at the beginning of the year, they had a lot of trouble and decided to withdraw from Tulsa Public Schools.

"I didn't go to school to become a special educator," Ciruso said.

Ciruso said she had issues withdrawing from the school and got a truancy letter almost two months after they left the district. She said it's been tough, but since her son got an IEP through EPIC Charter Schools, he's doing a lot better.

"Epic has had 60,000 students enrolling this year. That's a lot of students," Ciruso said.

EPIC said about 9,000 students have left Tulsa-area schools to go to EPIC. This week, the district said they've seen about an 8.5% drop in enrollment from this year to last year. TPS isn't the only district with a lower student population.

Sapulpa has experienced a 3% decline and Jenks has seen about 4.5% drop.

Owasso has seen about a 7% decline, Union has seen a little more than 5% and for Broken Arrow, roughly 4%.

TPS said it hopes to see an increase in students once it returns to in-person learning.

TPS issued a statement regarding the truancy letter saying,

"We know that there is a correlation between attendance and long term academic success, we have systems in place to monitor attendance. These systems are automated to send truancy letters after 15 days. Depending on the timing of a student withdrawal request, these automated truancy notices could overlap with the receipt and processing and the withdrawal."