Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard told local lawmakers Friday that to address its worsening teacher shortage, Oklahoma has to do more to compete with higher teacher salaries in surrounding states.
Tulsa Public Schools is turning to national experts for help with teacher recruitment in the face of worsening candidate shortages statewide. The school board on Monday unanimously approved $430,820 from its civic donors fund for a new technical assistance partnership with TNTP, which was formerly known as The New Teacher Project.
After five years on the job, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard continues to enjoy strong public support, the latest Oklahoma Poll shows.
Almost two-thirds of the 400 Tulsans surveyed by SoonerPoll either strongly or somewhat approved of Ballard's job performance, a result almost identical to those from an August 2009 Oklahoma Poll.
Tulsa Public Schools saw a nearly 18 percent decrease in middle school, junior high and high school dropouts last year, district officials reported Monday. Chris Johnson, chief accountability officer for the district, told the school board the district tallied 745 secondary school dropouts in 2012-13, a significant decrease over the previous two years. There were 906 in 2011-12 and 819 in 2010-11.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded Tulsa Public Schools a $300,000 planning grant for a new teacher professional development system, school officials have learned. Superintendent Keith Ballard said that if the school district's plan is deemed sufficient, it could be eligible for as much as $3 million more in Innovative Professional Development grant funds for implementing the system over the next several years.
There's once again controversy surrounding the end-of-year tests in the sooner state. This year, State Superintendent Janet Barresi changed the minimum required score, or cut score, on the state's biology test, months after the tests were taken.
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard has agreed to remain in his position through at least June 2015. At a special meeting Monday evening, the school board voted unanimously to authorize a one-year contract renewal with Ballard, who had been expected to leave at the end of June. The contract includes a $70,000 retention bonus.
The grant is an outgrowth of and fits neatly within the innovative work the district has been doing with its Teacher and Leader Effectiveness initiative, supported by local civic donors, the Foundation for Tulsa Schools and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Tulsa Public Schools has been awarded a $4.4 million, five-year federal grant for the development of new leaders for high-need schools. It was one of 20 school districts, colleges or universities and nonprofit organizations selected by the U.S. Department of Education for its school leadership grant program.
The Tulsa school board approved nearly $6 million in additional funding for employee salary increases on Monday. All but $140,000, which was privately donated through the Tulsa Community Foundation for raises for 23 ranking administrators, will come straight out of the district's annual budget.
State Superintendent Janet Barresi needs to "take a basic course in school finance," Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard said Monday. Barresi said Saturday that schools should use carryover funds and reduce administrative costs to pay for an across-the-board $2,000 pay raise for teachers. But Ballard said a cardinal rule is never to use one-time funds to pay for recurring costs.
Most Tulsa Public Schools employees will be starting the new school year with a one-time raise. The school board approved on Monday about $2.6 million for the wage increase, which Superintendent Keith Ballard said is needed to make the district more competitive in hiring and retaining quality workers.