TULSA, Okla. – While lawmakers continue to battle over a budget, school districts across the state are bracing for impact.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate have less than a week to agree on a budget that will fill a nearly $900 million budget shortfall. If they do not make the deadline, taxpayers will have to pay for a special session.
State agencies, including the Department of Education, are waiting to see what that future budget will mean for them.
In March, lawmakers asked each state agency to think about how it would handle a nearly 15 percent budget reduction.
The Oklahoma Department of Education announced that teachers would lose their jobs and schools may close as a result of a cut.
On Monday, the Tulsa Public School Board decided to consolidate several schools in the district in order to save funds.
According to KJRH, the district will close Park Elementary School, Remington Elementary School and ECDC Porter. The students from those schools will move to the Clinton Middle School campus, while students at Clinton will be moved to Webster High School.
Following the decision, many parents said they plan on moving out of the district due to the closures.
School officials say they are preparing to cut $12 million from the budget, and this move will save the district about $1 million.
“That’s why moving forward as we have is necessary because we know that even in the best case scenario, we’re going to have to be looking for cuts because flat funding, first of all, isn’t flat under the definition we’ve received. Even if it were truly flat, our costs go up every year and so cuts still have to be made,” said Tulsa Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist.