TULSA, Okla. — Plans for Tulsa Public Schools' Indian education program are on hold. The district shelved all proposals to gather more community feedback. TPS plans to use that feedback to create a new proposal Superintendent Gist will bring to the Board of Education in mid-March.
In the meantime, tribes are making their voices heard. Wednesday night, tribal chiefs heard concerns from Native American students and advisors.
In January, the district announced cuts would be made – seven positions pending elimination, including student advisors.
Shari Williams is one of them. She says, “There's room for change, always in any program. We're open to that. We do want the best. We want to work with TPS to provide for our students."
Williams is one of seven TPS Indian Education advisors. They serve 3,000 students spread throughout 76 schools.
Tulsa Public Schools officials say federal funding for the for the program is decreasing.
Cherokee Nation's Principal Chief hopes they are stretching the dollars they do get, especially after the nation's $1.3-million donation to Tulsa County school districts.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. adds, "We want to make sure we maximize the federal dollars that go into Indian education and the dollars from Cherokee Nation and other sources. At the end of the day, the plan needs to be one that maximizes resources to kids."
The Osage Nation Principal Chief says he meets with TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist Friday to discuss what is next for the program.
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