OKCPS Superintendent Explains Staffing Cuts

Wednesday, March 23rd 2016, 10:33 pm
By: News 9

There's new fallout from the state's $1.3 billion dollar budget shortfall. Wednesday, Oklahoma City Public Schools announced major staff cuts. It'll save the district $8 million.

The 200 plus staff cuts start this week. The reductions will be district-wide from teachers to even positions at central administration.

“Everything is on the table,” said Rob Neu, OKCPS Superintendent.

Oklahoma City Public Schools says there are 208 positions on the chopping block to help make up for the $30 million dollar shortfall the district is facing next school year.

3/23/16 Related Story: State Education Standards Go Into Effect Next School Year

Superintendent Rob Neu explained the staff cuts are made based on a formula, and principals at each school will decide which positions are eliminated.

“I'm not going to cut across the district a certain percent,” said Superintendent Neu.

His hope is that most of the cuts will come from people who already planned to leave the district or were retiring reducing the number of actual teachers who might lose their jobs.

“We are working in a way that we are strategically addressing this budget shortfall so we are protecting the classroom as much as we can and we are also doing as much as we can to protect our employees,” he said.

The cuts came as no surprise to the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers. They say these cuts will affect our children's education.

“When payroll is one of your biggest parts of your budget and you have to make up $30 million there aren't a lot of places that you can look to make big savings. The take away on this is that children are going to be in larger class sizes,” said Ed Allen, President of Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers.

Despite that potential, Superintendent Neu says the cuts will not cause class sizes to exceed state regulations.

But he says this is only the beginning.

“We are anticipating another $22 million in cuts and those will be coming out in a series of announcements in the next several weeks,” said Neu.

Wednesday, Governor Fallin signed a bill pulling $51 million out of the rainy fund for public schools.

3/23/16 Related Story: Fallin Signs Supplemental Funding Bills For Schools, Prisons

Unfortunately, Superintendent Neu says it won't be enough to stop the cuts.