‘Money for a rainy day’ may spare Tulsa middle school athletics from being consolidated | Education

The Tulsa Public Schools’ middle school athletic programs may not have to be consolidated after all.

TPS Director of Athletics Gil Cloud said $80,000 in athletic department funds could be applied to prevent combining 10 of the district’s 11 middle school athletic programs into multischool programs.

“Our district athletic director Gil Cloud worked diligently to identify a viable solution to protect middle school athletics,” TPS spokeswoman Emma Garrett Nelson said. “At this point, he has submitted a recommendation to the Office of the Chief of Schools to move forward with using private support to fund middle school athletics while ensuring that the district continues to achieve cost-savings.”

She said nothing has yet been approved ahead of the school board meeting May 1, when districtwide cuts will be finalized in anticipation of a $12 million reduction in state funding for the next school year.

“We’ve collected the money over a period of time, and we can do that from our accounts,” Cloud said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to accommodate the greatest numbers of kids.”

Cloud said the money comes from corporate sponsorships and revenue from such districtwide events as the Tournament of Champions basketball tournament, Athletics Hall of Fame banquet and the annual summer golf tournament.

“We continue to get money from various means,” he said. “I’ve kept this money for a rainy day, and now we have a rainy day. We’re looking at alternate ways to fund middle school athletics and keep everyone happy.”

Cloud said he has communicated that idea to principals and athletic directors of the middle schools. At least one administrator interpreted it as good news.

On Wednesday, Carver Principal Melissa Woolridge wrote to parents and boosters, stating that “TPS will NOT consolidate middle school…

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