Observers of public education are witnessing a collapse of confidence in bloated public school systems. Tulsa is a noteworthy example. The enrollment is far below that of the 10 year old Epic Charters.
Today, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, reports a major fraud investigation which implicates Tulsa Public schools, without naming the district, specifically.
Two years ago, while TPS was conducting an illegal teacher strike, TPS teachers were exposed in a scandal where the district paid for Las Vegas trips which were billed as training conferences.
While the population of kids has grown in Tulsa, the TPS district has radically shrunk from over 41,000 kids just 10 years ago. On top of that, the TPS federal funding brings in another $3000 or so. County property taxes then kick in. In all, Tulsa Public schools has about $630 Million dollars to spend each year on the 35,000 students, or.. $18,000 per student, per year. Bishop Kelley, in contrast; charges less than half that, for a private school education($8,900).
This week, Tulsans will decide if the property taxes will go up, to pay another $7500 per student, for software subscriptions and electronics.
TPS has roughly 34,000 total students and another 1500 in some charter projects. Epic has about 60,000, the majority of which are educated in their own homes. Epic enhances the education options with several athletic and fine arts options which students & parents choose from.
Last year, the Oklahoma Senate almost succeeded in splitting up the states two largest school districts. OKCPS & TPS waste far more money on administrative bloat. the 1889 Institute published a research paper in 2018, which showed that all districts with enrollment over 10,000 students are wasting an average of $1000 per student on the bureaucracy weighing them down. It results in only about 50% of education dollars going to direct class instruction. Overall, Oklahoma schools(56%) still fall behind the national average of 65% of education dollars getting into the actual classroom. Epic Charters average 80% of education dollars getting into the classroom. Epic teachers average nearly $70,000 in annual per-teacher compensation. Other Oklahoma schools are somewhere near $52,000.
Putting a bandage on a public cancer.
Tulsa has had a virtual school option for about 12 years. Parents say it's very poorly staffed & run. But 12 years of bad management cannot be trusted with voters putting themselves in debt for another $257 million, or $7,500 per student, in added property taxes.