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Morning Bell: Tulsa taps into reserve funds to offset declining state aid

Tulsa Public Schools.
Tulsa Public Schools.

Good Tuesday morning. Funding has been one of the greatest challenges for Oklahoma schools over the past several years and leaders at Tulsa Public Schools say decline state aid has continued to made current staffing levels unsustainable. 

However, for the first time in TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist’s tenure, the district decided not to cut staff this year as part of trimming the budget, reports the Tulsa World. Instead, the district decided to spend $6.2 million in reserve funds to offset declining state aid, keeping staff levels relatively unchanged.

“It is a responsible thing to do right now because we have fund balance funds that are available for us to do it,” said Gist. “It allows us to keep stability in our schools and prevents us from having to do additional cuts like we’ve done every year that I’ve been here in the district.”

Tulsa has made cuts in recent years, which include closing three west Tulsa elementary schools and consolidated them into one despite public outcry. The move was projected to save about $900,000.

Norman robotics team prepares for national competition

Students with the Norman Advanced Robotics organization will compete in robotic design, programming and performance against teams from across the world in mid July during the annual Global Conference on Educational Robotics in Palm Springs, California, reports the Norman Transcript

The students will also present a paper on their research during the conference.

“That’s not as well-known as the competitions, but we’ve done more papers than any other group in the world,” Askey said.

Fundraiser to aid schools foundation

A weekend fundraiser to benefit the Moore Public Schools Foundation will feature bounce houses, a DJ, food trucks, 3-on-3 basketball, an 80-foot inflatable obstacle course and a video game trailer. 

The Hall of Sole Summer Slam will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at The Station at Central Park, 700 S Broadway Ave. Admission is free. The Hall of Sole is partnering with other local businesses and organizations to present the first-time event. CEO Cleveland Turner said 75 percent of the money raised will go to the foundation, with the rest covering costs.

Go to for more information about the Moore Public Schools Foundation.

High school raises $50K for cancer research

Stillwater High School has raised nearly $50,000 for cancer research since naming the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation as its charitable beneficiary in 2011. That includes $8,136 raised for OMRF during its most recent Pink Out Week efforts, sponsor Jody Webber said.

Stillwater High students, led jointly by the school's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and Beta Club organizations, raised the funds for cancer research at the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit.

It's a cause everyone can get behind because everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another, Webber said. The 2018-19 fundraising will beginning in September.

During the most recent effort, students raised money at local restaurants, at various school activities and by passing donation buckets through the stands at sports competitions.

Have a great Tuesday! 

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›