Tulsa Public Schools was planning on cutting 244 employees – including 142 teachers – for next fall but because of the action of Oklahoma Legislature, those cuts won’t be nearly as bad.
Because of a rosier budget picture, TPS will restore 42 of those teaching positions after the Legislature spared common education from the harshest cuts during a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall. Nine support positions will be restored.
TPS officials thought they would get $13 million less from the state but it’s actually about $6.75 million
The Tulsa school board OKed a budget that reflects the increase in planned state revenue.
Public school officials were broadcasting doom when the State Equalization Board officially estimated a $1.3 billion shortfall for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Education gets more than half of the state’s discretionary budget.
TPS responded by cutting bus drivers, campus police, teachers, office workers and security officers.
Superintendent Deborah Gist, who recently got a $25,000 performance bonus, said public schools have had years of underfunding and it is difficult to recruit and keep teachers at her schools.
TPS has a carryover fund of $30 million – almost 10 percent of its budgeted revenue.