TPS educators speak out against budget cuts

TULSA - Tulsa Public Schools' educators say enough is enough.

They say funding cuts are past the crisis point. Now educators are asking for your support.

The Tulsa Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) and the Tulsa Association of Elementary School Principals (TAESP) sent parents a letter on Friday asking them to contact lawmakers and ask for more education funding.

Otherwise they say bigger class sizes and less opportunities for students are on the way.

Central High School 10th grader Sabrina Montoya has big dreams. Montoya wants to go to college and become a criminal investigator.  But she's afraid some of her classes for next year are on the line.

"Those are classes that I want to take specifically, to get somewhere, and if I wouldn't be able to do that, then that would like hurt me, and I'd have to find some other thing to do," she said.

Federal grant money to pay for some teacher salaries has run out. Now TPS expects to cut 75 teachers. The school district says those positions would be cut through attrition and not be filled.

Because of that, classrooms across the district could have more students in them. And electives and upper level language classes could be cut.

High school classes could have anywhere from 38 to 42 students per class. And elementary classes could have up to 35 students per class.

"When you're facing the prospect of having more than 30 people in one class, it would just be mind-boggling to follow through with an instruction, and give each student the individual care they need," said English teacher Matthew Gress.

Gress says it will be tougher for schools to offer a quality education.

"It's going to be possible, but it's going to be extremely difficult. And I think that more students may fall through the cracks," he said.

So educators are taking a stand. Principal Dr. Oliver Wallace is asking parents, citizens and lawmakers for support and more funding.

"We cannot cut anymore. We cannot do any less, and have the best and the brightest students perform under the conditions that are anticipated for next year," Wallace said.

TPS reports it has reduced spending by $23 million over the last three years. But that hasn't been enough to save teaching positions.

"We are at a point right now, where we can no longer protect classroom teachers. And that is a concern, for secondary principals and all educators alike," Wallace said.

Students like Montoya are wondering if they'll face more challenges down the line.

"I'm going to do my hardest to push myself forward, and push past everything and try to do the best that I can," Montoya said.

Any changes due to budget cuts would go into effect next school year.

Print this article Back to Top