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:
"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."