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Confronting the Possibility of Unimaginable Budget Cuts: A Discussion with 3 School Superintendents

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Aired on Friday, March 4th.

You might call it "adding insult to injury," as the old saying goes. Yesterday's announcement that the State of Oklahoma has authorized an additional 4% cut to state expenditures will hurt all agencies statewide, but perhaps especially school districts, since their school year is now almost 3/4 complete. This cut comes at a time of extreme uncertainty for public school leadership all across Oklahoma regarding the shape of next year's appropriation, given the $1.3 billion shortfall in the state budget. Difficult times, to be sure, with crucial funding questions still up in the air...and with worst-case-scenario (and hitherto unimaginable) budget cuts quite possibly looming in the near future. How are Tulsa County school superintendents preparing for these cuts, or planning to deal with them, or simply, at this point, thinking about them? And what would such cuts actually do our schools -- what effects would they bring about? Our guests are Superintendents Deborah Gist (of Tulsa Public Schools), Jarod Mendenhall (of Broken Arrow Public Schools), and Lance West (of Collinsville Public Schools).

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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