2019-09-20 ne-tpsmeeting4342

TPS Chief Financial Officer Norberto Delgadillo refers to a visual aid during a Sept. 19 meeting at Booker T. Washington High School about Tulsa Public Schools’ $20 million budget shortfall. JOSEPH RUSHMORE/for the Tulsa World

Tulsa Public Schools has released an online survey as part of an extensive effort to collect public input about solving the looming $20 million budget shortfall.

The survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, appeared on the district’s social media platforms Friday morning and will be open through 9 a.m. Oct. 14.

TPS is halfway through its initial series of community engagement meetings where stakeholders share their thoughts on how to slash $20 million from the 2020-21 budget. Officials blame the projected deficit on declining enrollment and a decade of education funding cuts at the state level.

The survey questions mirror the group exercises that make up a large portion of the meetings. Participants are given a list of programs and services and asked to select the five they value the most.

They’re also able to develop a hypothetical plan to save $20 by selecting investments that have random values attached to them. For example, decreasing access to athletic programs is worth $1, while reducing central office services is worth $2. The goal of this exercise reportedly is to highlight some of the complex choices that lie ahead.

“We will need to make incredibly difficult decisions to reduce our 2020-2021 budget by $20 million — and these decisions will impact programs, services and supports that matter deeply to the Tulsa Public Schools family and to the communities we serve,” the survey reads. “There will be no easy options to manage these reductions, and there is no one area that we can reduce enough to fill the entire funding gap.”

All community members and stakeholders, including those who already attended or plan to attend a meeting, are encouraged to fill out the survey, which can be found at tulsaschools.org.

Following the final community engagement meeting on Oct. 10, TPS will host a series of working sessions with key stakeholders in October and November to examine the input collected from the meetings and the web-based survey.

Four community feedback events are planned for Dec. 9-13. District officials hope to present a modified budget and recommendations to the school board by Dec. 16.

The new budget would be implemented in 2020-21.

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Kyle Hinchey

918-581-8451

kyle.hinchey@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @kylehinchey

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