Greater Tulsa Leaders Lament Steep Cuts to Public Education
CHAMBER PRESENTATION: Three Tulsa educators were center stage during the recent 15th Annual State of Education held at the Doubletree Downtown Hotel. From left are Dr. Steve Tiger, superintendent and CEO of Tulsa Tech; Dr. Deborah Gist, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools; Dr. Steve Turner, president of Northeastern State University; and Jeff Dunn, chairman of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
GTR Newspapers photos
The Tulsa Regional Chamber hosted its 15th annual State of Education May 9 at the Doubletree Downtown Hotel. This year’s luncheon featured presentations from Dr. Deborah Gist, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools; Dr. Steve Tiger, superintendent and of Tulsa Tech; and Dr. Steve Turner, president of Northeastern State University.
Each speaker commented on the impact of state funding cuts to their programs, particularly as it affects the ability of their institutions to develop, educate and train the next generation of northeast Oklahoma’s workforce. Chamber Vice Chair of Education Wes Mitchell also discussed the imperative of engaging in the local political process, calling upon attendees to press their elected officials and candidates for state office to make education a top legislative priority.
In another scenario, Tulsa-area leaders and education officials banded together to put pressure on elected state officials to ease cuts on public schools.
Mike Neal, president and of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, called education cuts a “lose-lose” scenario for Oklahoma at a recent press conference held by ImpactTulsa.
“This is simply crippling Oklahoma’s ability to educate the next generation of talented workers,” Neal said.
Neal added that education funding is core to the quality-of-life issue in Tulsa.
The cuts are the latest in a series of measures the board has approved to help the district reduce costs in the face of a state revenue failure. The 2017 fiscal year budget for will have to be cut by about $13.5 million, district officials estimate, though it could go as high as $20 million. Other school districts in the greater Tulsa region are being hampered by steep cuts.