Thousands of students hopped on school buses today, as drivers made their first stops as early as 6:30 a.m. As the year begins, the challenge of having enough drivers continues. The Tulsa Public Schools bus barn still needs about 40 drivers. Teachers have spent this past week getting their rooms prepped for new students and the coming year. But some schools are still looking for teachers, as their was a shortage of instructors. Just a few days ago, TPS needed about 50-teachers. The plan is to hire substitutes until those positions are filled.You can expect a strong emphasis on reading for your children this year--with a district wide approach, from a program called Reading 180.And look for continued pressure on the state for more school funding, even though this year the funding did improve."We have not been able to do all the things we need to do because of budget cuts, primarily a significant teacher increase making sure we have enough teacher allocations, although we are stretching those dollars," said Dr. Keith Ballard, Superintendent.Dr. Ballard also says expect intensity, when it comes to coursework and expectations. "They can expect real intensity with the teachers. We are not going to waste a minute. They can expect, I hope we have always had a business like approach, all the while building relationships with kids. But making sure they understand it is going to be about teaching and learning," said Ballard.This year was expected to be Ballard's last year. Today he said, "I'm not ready to go yet."
KTUL ABC 8 provides local and national news, sports, weather and notice of community events in Tulsa, Oklahoma and surrounding towns including Broken Arrow, Owasso, Claremore, Jenks, Bixby, Coweta, Muskogee, Westport, Beggs, Okmulgee, Council Hill, Henryetta, Skiatook, Collinsville, and Bartlesville.