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Oklahoma City schools to cut 92 administrative positions due to revenue failure

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state's largest school district is preparing to lay off about 18 percent of its administrative staff.

It's the latest step for Oklahoma City Public Schools as it tries to dig its way out of a $30 million budget hole.

In all, the district will shed 93 administrative positions, 59 of which will come from the central office. The remaining 33 will be let go from administrative staffs at specific schools, saving the district an estimated $5.1 million.

"It's a very difficult thing that has to be done, but we have to do it in preparation for next school year," said district spokesman Mark Myers. "This is all a direct result of the statewide revenue failure."

Last month, Oklahoma City Public Schools announced that the district is "facing a catastrophic budget crisis due to a statewide revenue shortfall."

Officials say 208 teaching positions will be cut, which will save the district $8 million, but will also increase class sizes.

On Thursday, district leaders announced that additional cuts are in the works.

"We are forced to make these difficult decisions as a result of the statewide $1.3 billion revenue failure, and a $30 million reduction to the OKCPS budget," said Superintendent Rob Neu.

Employees will be notified of the layoffs Friday morning. Some jobs are supposed to be left open after retirements and resignations, but Myers says he doubts it will be as significant a number as the teacher attrition rate.

Myers says the district will try to ease the transition for employees leaving the district.

"Obviously we want to be as humane as possible," he said. "These are the people we work with on a daily basis so we want to be sure we're treating them with the utmost respect."

After state officials announced that Oklahoma is facing a $1.3 billion shortfall in the budget, public schools across the state prepared for budget cuts.

Public schools alone will have nearly $110 million cut from their budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

State leaders agreed to use some money from the Rainy Day Fund to prevent massive cuts to education, but school leaders say that’s only the beginning and won't stop the cuts from affecting students.

"I think that's sad that it's happening," said Tammy Shifflett, who teaches second grade at Parks Elementary. "We're definitely concerned, we definitely hear about it, and it definitely affects us and our jobs. It affects our livelihoods and our families."

Shifflett told NewsChannel 4 she was relieved to hear teachers wouldn't be the only ones carrying the burden of the economic downturn.

"They're trying to save the positions and think of the kids, so I honestly think it's from the heart," she said. "We all should just work together."

The cuts to administrators and teachers only equal about $13 million, meaning the district will have to cut $17 million more to reach its budget reduction goal.

Board members expect to discuss the remaining cuts -- which will come from district programs and services -- at their April 25 meeting.