This week, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah A. Gist announced that the district is preparing for an expected $12 million decrease in state funding for the 2017-2018 school year. Tulsans are being asked to give feedback on their funding priorities for next year through a survey available online at www.tulsaschools.org/survey. The survey will remain open until Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.Gist said:"Given our abysmal public education funding situation, school districts throughout Oklahoma are facing incredibly difficult decisions to keep the lights on and the doors open to serve our children and families. As we did last year, we will start as far from the classroom as possible and take another look at our central office team. Given that the percentage of our budget going toward administrative costs is low, it is unlikely that we will be able to protect our students and teachers from feeling the impact of these cuts."
Gist shared that the district will consider all viable options, including decreasing athletics programming, reducing central office services including security and custodial, and implementing furlough days. The district will also evaluate school closings as a cost-saving measure.
"These are not decisions that we want to make-but these are options we will be forced to consider to make up for cuts of this magnitude. We are weighing one vital service against another, and any of these choices are completely unacceptable," said Gist. "We will do all that we can to minimize the impact on students, teachers, and schools, but we do expect that these cuts will be felt in classrooms throughout our district next year."
The budget survey asks respondents to consider the acceptability of a number of options to reduce expenses including closing or consolidating schools, further increasing class sizes, and additional reductions in central office services and athletics programs. Respondents will also be asked to identify $1,000 in funding cuts by selecting from a list of 15 options including changes to the school week and reduced transportation services. District leaders will use the survey results to help inform budget reduction planning.
The survey is available in English and Spanish and will be open at www.tulsaschools.org/survey
until 6:00 p.m. on March 30, 2017.