Tulsa Public Schools budget expected to be cut by $12M for 2017-2018 school year

Posted at 9:14 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 00:04:31-04

TULSA -- No more money left to go around. Tulsa Public Schools claims if state funding continues to get cut, their doors may not open. $12-million is expected to be cut next school year.

Last year, TPS funding was cut 9%, which was about $6.7 million. Since the beginning of this school year, the district has already had four additional budget cuts. Next year, it will only get worse.

It's just another day in the park for Mary LeClair. Her 19-month-old is right by her side.

"If this is already happening, what's next?" she said.

In just a few short years, Harrison will be ready for school. But this mother isn't so sure that's Tulsa.

"Kids learn how to be adults in social situations and you can't do that if take all of the arts," Mary LeClair said. 

The school district is preparing for a $12-million decrease in state funding for the 2017 and 2018 school year.

"If this trend continues, we will literally not be able to keep the doors open," Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said. 

Dr. Gist says the district's budget is about $500-million. One possible cut is campus security.

"It really scares me, especially with all these school shootings," LeClair said. 

Athletic programs is another option. 

"I was an athlete," LeClair said. "It was a big deal to us."  

A big cost saver would be closing a entire school.

"It could be as much as $1-million depending on the scenario," Dr. Gist said.

The district wanted the public's input, so they created a survey. One of many options was cutting bus transportation. It's not required by state law. 

"When I was a kid, I had to ride the bus to school," LeClair said. "It makes me really, really sad."

"We don't want a bunch of ignorant children running around you know that weren't taught anything in school because we didn't put a couple extra bucks to fund them," Tulsa parent Brogan Sanders said. 

Mary LeClair says she may be leaving the state before her son starts school.

"If the state doesn't care about their students, I don't know if I want my child to be a student," she said. 

The district plans to discuss the publics input from the survey at Mondays' board meeting.

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