Two TPS board members call for Superintendent’s resignation

TULSA, Okla. — The two Tulsa Public School board members are speaking up on their decisions to vote “no” on agenda items during Monday night’s school board meeting, and why they’re calling on Superintendent Deborah Gist’s resignation.

Gist was not commenting Tuesday, but she did leave comments on Facebook last night. She said the items being struck down are catastrophic.

“We cannot pay our electric bills. We cannot pay the electric, gas to run buses for our summer programs. We cannot provide reading programs for our students. We cannot buy classroom materials, technology, or computer,” Gist said.

The board also didn’t pass contracts for staff.

“The board didn’t approve the already approved of selected teachers and support staff who have accepted an offer to work at our school year for the new year,” she said.

The three board members who voted “no” and walked out said they have reasons for their votes.

“I voted them down because there was no discussion on the major items,” Dr. Jerry Griffin, school board member said.

“I will make no decision on this unless there’s an open and public discussion,” School Board Member Jennettie Marshall said.

Some members are even calling for Gist’s resignation.

“If this superintendent really cares about the children, if she loves Tulsa, she needs to step down,” Griffin said.

School board member E’Lena Ashley isn’t calling for Gist’s resignation, but does say if she were to call for her resignation, it would be over the “poor state of the district.”

“There are plenty of other things to call on a resignation. Just look at the past 5 years and the failures it’s currently faced with,” Charity Marcus, Ashley’s public relations manager said.

Gist said this is about the children, and getting ready for the school year. She elaborates the importance of amending the issues among the board and working together for the kids and teachers.

“I take responsibility for whatever part I played in the result of tonight’s meeting with the board. In doing this, I hope to be modeling what adults do as adults when our students need us,” she said.

Tulsa Classroom Teacher’s Association President Shawna Mott-Wright said we have to do what’s best for the kids. She’s worried with teacher contracts not passing this means fewer teachers on top of fewer teachers that already exists. Plus, bigger class sizes. Mott-Wright adds this means, as of now, programs like Edge and Chinese at Booker T. Washington didn’t pass.

She added, to move on, it isn’t business as usual, but trying to find ways to resolve and work to pass these items.

“It doesn’t mean we agree on everything. Also, just because I have this thought, and this thought, they’re not exclusive. Critical thinking is a skill,” she said.

The school board has a special meeting, Thursday at 1 p.m. So far, Mott-Wright said the items struck down on Monday aren’t up for reconsideration.