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Two Things: More Misery

May 10, 2016

At the beginning of this year, the intent of the Two Things series was to make a couple of quick points on Tuesday mornings before heading off to work. It’s evolved into something different. For one thing, it doesn’t always happen before work. Also, it’s often more than just two things.

Well, it’s too late to type a before-work post. I can still find two quick things to discuss, though.

1. $10 million in additional cuts for Oklahoma City Public Schools

From News OK:

Acting Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora on Tuesday announced $10 million in additional budget cuts to counter the state’s projected revenue shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

The latest cost reductions will include the elimination of funding for student testing, delaying new textbook purchases, and reducing elementary school supply budgets, adjunct coaching positions and contracts with outside vendors, the district announced in a news release.

The article goes on to describe other possible cost savings, such as school closures and the elimination of popular programs for schools. This is on top of $13 million in previously announced cuts, most of which are teaching and administrative positions.

2. Cuts in Tulsa County

From the Tulsa World:

School boards in the Broken Arrow, Union and Bixby school districts slashed a total of $14.09 million out of their budgets and nearly 150 jobs out of their employee rosters in separate meetings around the metro area on Monday evening.

Broken Arrow school board members prefaced their vote to reduce their Fiscal Year 2017 budget by $7.39 million with stinging comments for state lawmakers.

“It is maddening and saddening,” said Theresa Williamson, a board member who said she hopes legislators get news cameras trained on them so they have to answer to the public about the state of Oklahoma’s budget.

“For the specific individuals affected, I apologize. It didn’t happen overnight. They (legislators) didn’t do what needed to be done,” she said.

The three suburban districts are just the latest among local schools grappling with the consequences of the state’s budget crisis.

In recent weeks, Tulsa Public Schools eliminated 270 jobs as part of its plan to reduce its Fiscal Year 2017 budget by $8 million. The cuts included 142 teaching positions.

Again, class sizes are increasing and programs are lost. Meanwhile, Rome burns, and nothing happens.

Oklahoma Flag Out of Focus

For additional reading:

This will warm your heart.

To the first year teacher, you made it. Congratulations! I promise you that the tears you have shed have been worth it.

To the teacher that is retiring, you made it. Congratulations! Thank you for your years of service and for your dedication to your students and schools. Thank you for leaving a legacy.

To the teacher that is leaving the profession, I get it. Times are hard and being a teacher is hard. Thank you for all that you did while you taught in your classroom. And always remember that you can come back. Good luck in your future endeavors!

To the teacher lost their job because of budget cuts, I’m sorry. It isn’t fair. I don’t know what to say to make it better. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose your passion.

To the graduating college student, Oklahoma kids need good teachers. I hope that you choose to stay.

This won’t.

I admit I don’t quite understand how institutions like the House of Representatives are supposed to work, but I cannot imagine trying to lead a group of adults who lack the self-control and respect to simply be on time, sit down, close their mouth, and pay attention. This was far worse than any staff meeting I have attended .  .  .  or middle school classroom for that matter.

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