Tulsa Public Schools is broadening it's online school program--to even younger students. It is a way to hold on to students, who may be looking for options. Channel 8's Kim Jackson says it is boiling down to money.
Most elementary schools are closed for the summer. Come fall, elementary students will have a new option. They'll be able to work from home.
Tulsa Public schools started two years ago, with it's virtual school for middle and high schoolers. They went from 50-online students to 250. This coming next year, it's open to students from the third grade up.
"I don't agree with it. The system is messed up already,". said Eyon Lewis, who is dissatisfied with so many changes
Some parents don't like the idea. But others have left Tulsa Public Schools. to enroll in other online programs.
"I don't believe that we can afford not to have a virtual offering for our kids. I don't know that third and fourth is that. I think that is just a component we need to add to make sure we are meeting that need," said Kenny Rodrequez, who leads alternative education for the district.
Some elementary students have left, for home school. This curriculum could bring those students back into the system--along with the state funding every student brings.
"Funding follows the kids so if we have kids who are leaving we are not providing something they are looking for, because yes, absolutely funding follows the kid."
Money is a huge part of this new trend. Parents can transfer students at will, almost. And other online schools are flourishing. Districts, like Tulsa Public Schools are nearly forced into providing more choice.
"While I still feel like they will benefit more from being in a regular school at least being able to provide this option shows that we are trying to meet their needs," said Rodrequez.
Elementary students and their parents will have to understand, parents have to play a part.
They will have online teachers but parents can ask for and receive help. They'll get weekly phone calls and emails. But administrators point it out, this is not for every family.
For students that don't have computers, the district is working on hubs, like at libraries where your student can study there.