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TPS board votes to close Wright, Mark Twain, Grimes, Jones elementary schools

Tulsa Public Schools
Posted at 9:32 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 06:52:55-05

TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to close four elementary schools in order to save money during a budget shortfall.

The schools affected are Jones, Wright, Mark Twain and Grimes Elementary Schools.

TPS officials say these closures will save the district between $2 million and $3 million. It is currently facing a $20 million budget deficit.

Parents packed Tuesday night's meeting, many upset over the closures. Mary Hooks, who has three children at Wright, said this decision is going to hurt them.

“Our kids have fought and for them to close our school down because they don’t know how to manage money isn’t fair to our kids," said Hooks.

A big concern for parents is class sizes with many schools already at capacity.

The board unanimously approved a new staffing plan that will increase elementary class sizes from 23 to 24.

This move will inevitably affect the teachers and staff employed.

"When you're facing a structural deficit of this magnitude, I can't promise everyone that we're not going to feel the effects," said Superintendent Deborah Gist.

The school closures will go into effect at the end of this school year.

Students currently attending Jones Elementary will go to either MacArthur, Lindbergh or Bell. Students at Grimes Elementary will go to Carnegie or Key. Those are Mark Twain will go to Wayman Tisdale, and students at Wright will attend Eliot or Patrick Henry.

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