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Governor Urged to Consider Administrative Cost-Sharing Pilot Project in Tulsa-Tulsa Union Schools

A State Senator is urging Governor Keating to test his cost-saving ideas for school administration in Tulsa, noting that two districts in the state's second largest metro area are the perfect candidates for a pilot project.

In a letter to the Governor, Senator Jeff Rabon suggested that the state chief executive consider consolidating the administrative functions of the Tulsa Public Schools with the Tulsa Union Public Schools.

"If you're really interested in doing something significant, you have to go where the money is. I think it's obvious that the biggest potential savings are going to be found in the urban districts that have the biggest budgets. Tulsa and Tulsa Union certainly fit that bill," noted Senator Rabon.

Governor Keating has made administrative cost-cutting one of his top priorities this year. His office first suggested increasing class sizes, firing "excess" teachers and cutting school lunch programs to reduce costs, but backed away from those proposals under heavy criticism. The Governor is now proposing that school districts share superintendents, transportation, food services and other items to reduce expenditures.

In his correspondence, Senator Rabon listed three reasons why Tulsa and Tulsa Union would be the perfect pilot project for the Governor's ideas:

  • The departure of Tulsa School Superintendent John Thompson presents a
    perfect opportunity to try the shared superintendent concept between Tulsa
    and Tulsa Union. No standing superintendent will have to be fired or

  • Because Tulsa and Tulsa Union have two of the largest budgets in the
    state, they also possess the largest potential for administrative cost

  • Unlike many cities and towns in Oklahoma, Tulsa has more than one school
    district within its city limits. Because there is no municipality of
    "Union", a merger with the Tulsa public schools would cause little or no
    disruption of school patrons.
  • "Because of the superintendent situation and because the districts are literally next door to each other in the same city, Tulsa Union and Tulsa are the perfect choices for a pilot project," said Senator Rabon.

    "In a state as geographically diverse as Oklahoma, I'm not sure that the Governor's one-size-fits-all approach on school administration will work in every school district. That's why we should be trying out his ideas in a pilot project first, preferably in districts large enough to make a difference in terms of funding."

    Contact info
    Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605