TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist had difficult conversations last week.
She's proposing a plan that would cut 179 jobs, and create 207 positions going into the new year. This would affect the district's IT, design, finance, bond, talent management, learning, and student support teams.
"They are family. They're members of our team. This isn't about performance. So when you go through a process like this it's very heart-wrenching," Dr. Gist said.
The district is also proposing changing to campus police. The superintendent said she wants roles to be re-designed to strengthen both proactive and reactive support.
"People should not see this as we're eliminating positions because we're not going to keep our kids safe or our schools safe. Quite the opposite. The reason that we're re-organizing so that we can improve safety and service to schools," she said.
Changes for the teaching and learning department include 40 instructional mentor positions, 14 academic partners, and eight academic managers. For school support services: 20 school-embedded behavior support specialists will be assigned in addition to 18 special education specialists and eight additional psychologists.
Superintendent Gist said this is different from the cost-cutting re-structure of three years ago.
"How can we organize ourselves in a way that maximizes the people that we have on our team and improves the service that we provide to schools?" she said.
After hosting a hearing for impacted employees, the board will vote on this in May. If approved, changes will take place July first.
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