"Education is a core service that must be recognized at the state level," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said during a press conference Monday aimed at lawmakers in a plea for additional funding for public schools.
Bartlett, Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert and area superintendents Dr. Keith Ballard of Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Cathy Burden of Union and Dr. Kirby Lehman of Jenks, held the joint news conference Monday in downtown Tulsa.
Mayor Bartlett signed a resolution championed by Gilbert in the City Council requesting the Oklahoma Legislature increase educational funding for elementary and secondary schools in the 2012-13 budget.
"To compete at the global level, Tulsa must have a well-educated workforce that will help us attract more businesses to Tulsa and keep existing businesses growing," said Bartlett.
"There is so much at risk if we don't adequately fund our schools," added Gilbert, who has been employed by Tulsa Public Schools for the past 12 years. "Not only will class sizes double, but we could be at higher risk of potentially increasing our numbers of drop-outs, reducing course offerings and possibly cutting transportation and other everyday operating functions."
"Imposing constraints on education funding threatens Oklahoma's future economic competitiveness," said Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal, who expressed support for the resolution. "We must do better for our students. The students of today are the workforce of tomorrow and they must be prepared for the challenges of post-secondary education and training."
Channel 8's Latoya Silmon was at today's press conference and will have more on city leaders' pleas for education funding tonight at 5 and 6.
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