BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Bartlesville Public Schools announced major cuts a week before school lets out for the summer.
The board of education approved budget cuts Monday night totaling almost $1.9 million in anticipation of a loss in state funding.
Chuck McCauley, who will become the district's superintendent in July, said it's challenging to start his tenure implementing these cuts.
"We knew going into the year, the way state funding looked early in the year, that it was going to be a tough budget year," McCauley said. "However, we certainly didn't anticipate it being this bad."
The cuts include eliminating 39 staff members to generate $1.6 million in savings. The reductions include 21 teachers, 15 support staff members and three district level administrators.
McCauley said the cuts will unfortunately affect class sizes, but mostly in the elementary schools.
"We tried to do everything we could to protect our class sizes," he said. "Our elementary average is currently at 21, and we're hopeful that it won't be over 23 next year."
The district expects to save about $10,000 when Central Middle School reopens next school year after extensive renovations.
The athletics budget took a $29,000 hit, and the board agreed to eliminate the slow-pitch softball team. Music funding also received a $19,000 reduction, which means the high school marching band will travel to fewer out-of-town football games in the fall.
Band members, like Matthew Yearout, said they're disappointed with the decision.
"At first, we're not thrilled about it," Yearout said, "but we understand with all the budget cuts they're going to have to make some cuts. Transportation is really expensive, and we completely understand why they're making these decisions. But we wish we could still go."
Click here to see a more detailed breakdown of the cuts coming to Bartlesville Public Schools.
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