Anonymous donation saves eight TPS jobs

TULSA - An anonymous act of kindness saves eight jobs at Tulsa Public Schools.

TPS had to make some major cuts after they announced the budget earlier this month.

Those cuts included eight different social workers who work at each of the district's high schools, but someone's generosity has kept those jobs safe.

"I've been in my position for about three years now and I have really built a rapport with a lot of the students," said Samantha Checotah, social service worker at Edison Preparatory School.

Checotah's relationship with her students would have been cut short if it wasn't for the mysterious donation.

Her job isn't that of a normal teacher.  She's there to provide emotional support or even basic needs for her students at Edison.

"When there is a crisis in a child's life, when there's a crisis in the family, the family becomes homeless the child loses a friend or a parent," said Kay Sandschaper, director of special education at TPS.

The social workers positions were on the chopping block because officials were looking for ways to trim without impacting academic services, but it wasn't an easy decision.

"I believe that there are kids that will be getting services from these social workers that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise and it will make a difference in their lives," said Sandschaper.

The anonymous donor specified the $175,000 grant would be used specifically for the social services program, to keep all eight social workers in place.

"I find it gratifying that there are people in the public that really look and see what happens in schools and say to themselves we can't let this go," said Sandschaper.

Officials are hopeful the financial situation for next year will brighter so they won't have to put this program on the chopping block again.

Social workers like Checotah can continue to look toward what the future has in store.

"I'm ready for the students, the new year, the staff and just the excitement of prom and graduation," said Checotah.

In total, TPS cut $4.2 million from next year's budget.

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