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TPS Board of Education approves consolidation of two north Tulsa schools

Posted at 9:46 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 16:32:37-04

TULSA -- The Tulsa Board of Education approved a recommendation to close Gilcrease Elementary school in an effort to consolidate with the school next door.

Nearly 20 parents, teachers, and young students spoke at Monday night's board meeting at the Tulsa Education Service Center.

"We had no idea, did not see this coming at all," said Hanna Al-Jibouri, teacher at Gilcrease Elementary.

All taking the stand on the recommendation to close Gilcrease Elementary School, moving the first through fifth graders next door to the ECDC Bunche facility, to join pre-K and Kindergarten students.

"In one of the schools we’re only using 25 percent of the building, and in the other school we’re only using 50 percent of the building," said Dr. Deborah Gist, Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools.

Dr. Gist believes it's beneficial for students to go to the same school from pre-K through elementary school, because it limits the amount of transition for students.

"I know that they are not behind this, like this will hurt kids, they truly believe this is what’s best for students," said Nicole Powell, a teacher at Gilcrease Elementary.

But teachers and community members are upset because they don't believe the people who would be directly impacted with the decision were part of the conversation.

"We just believe the community didn’t get the just time and diligence into being invited into this conversation," said Al-Jibouri.

It was a close vote, 4 to 3 on approving the recommendation. Gilcrease will close at the end of the school year, in just a few weeks, and Dr. Gist says there isn't a solid plan for how they'll use it later.

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