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April6, 2012

TO: Parents, Guardians and Friends of Public Education in Tulsa

FROM: Tulsa Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP)

Tulsa Association of Elementary School Principals (TAESP)

We are the organizations that represent your children’s principals and assistant principals. We are writing this letter because we have some genuine concerns about the funding of public education in Oklahoma and how that funding will affect your child personally. Please join us in calling for the Oklahoma Legislature to fund education at a level that will allow us to fully prepare your children for a productive and positive future.

Education funding for the 2012‐2013 school year has been in the news lately and was a significant topic at Monday’s (April 2nd) Tulsa Public Schools school board meeting. TPS has reduced spending by $23 million over the course of the last three years. As a district we have cut the fat from our budgets and made the necessary adjustments to absorb these decreases in funding because we understood the economic challenges faced by our state.

Fortunately, times have changed for our state. According to Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller, our state has experienced a two‐year revenue growth streak. Yet, funding for public education has not benefited from this increase in revenue. The State Legislature continues to ask schools to educate our children with the bare minimum of funding. The reductions in the district’s budgets over the last three years have left TPS with nothing left to cut but teachers and programs that directly affect your children. There is currently more than $47 million in the state’s coffers that has not been budgeted. If that amount were allocated through the state aid formula, it would bring additional dollars to TPS which would save the jobs of 80 teachers and numerous programs for our children.

Twenty years ago, educators worked with the Legislature to pass HB1017, which ensured smaller class sizes for the students of Oklahoma. Rather than abide by there forms included in that legislation the State Department of Education (with the support of the Legislature) has excused school districts from class size penalties so that class sizes can increase beyond acceptable levels. It is time to hold the State Department of Education and the Legislature accountable to the laws agreed upon by the citizens of this state. The only way to do that is for the school districts to receive additional funding. The money is there. It just needs to be budgeted to the school districts.

If the additional funding is not received, here are some examples of what you can expect for your child should the level of financing for the2012‐2013 school year remain where it is:

  • Approximately 75 teachers will be cut from school faculties across the district.
  • Class sizes at the high school level could be as high as 38‐42 students per class.
  • Elementary class sizes could be as large as 28‐35 students.
  • Upper level language classes and other elective classes at the high schools and middle schools will disappear from the schedule.
  • Schools will be asked to trim as many as 13 teachers from their staffs.
  • Support personnel who provide much needed assistance for students could be jeopardized at many sites.
  • Tutoring programs for students who need additional assistance will cease to be funded.
  • Positions for counselors, clerks and coaches will be reduced in order to keep academic teachers on staff.
  • Elementary enrichment programs will be jeopardized because there is no funding for these teachers.

We need your help to save these teachers, programs and our schools. Please join with us in contacting your State Representatives and Senators. Tell them you care about children in Oklahoma and their future. Please encourage the Legislature to fund our schools at a level that will ensure student success.

We cannot continue to spend less per pupil then all of our surrounding states. It is only by standing together that we can make the necessary change.

Your representatives can be reached at this website, http://www.oklegislature.gov/or (405)521‐2711.

We appreciate your continued support of public education in Oklahoma and your local school district.

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