Byron Schlomach, Ph.D. | October 10, 2022
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
How many students are enrolled in Tulsa Public Schools?
TPS enrollment is 32,569. Since 2014-15, enrollment has declined from 39,999—a drop of 18.6%.
Statewide enrollment during that time period has increased 0.76%—from 688,300 to 693,587.
How much money does TPS spend per student?
TPS spending per student was $11,801.96 in 2021. This is an increase of 27.7% from $9,243.00 in 2014-15. TPS spending per student is 17% higher than the statewide average.
Statewide spending per student was $10,091.41 in 2021. This is an increase of 23% from $8,209.92 in the 2014-15 school year.
The average private school tuition in Oklahoma is $6,568 for elementary schools and $7,605 for high schools.
How much of that money is spent on instruction?
TPS instruction expenditures were $5.575.42 per student in 2021, or 48.9% of total expenditures.
Since the 2014-15 school year, instruction expenditures per student have increased 28.9% (from $4,325.25 per student). That year, instruction expenditures were only 46.8% of total expenditures.
Statewide instruction expenditures in 2021 were 56.3% of total expenditures, an increase from 2015 when instruction expenditures were 51% of the total. Comparing 2021 to 2015, total instruction expenditures statewide increased 31.8%, total overall expenditures increased 23.9%, and the number of students increased less than 1%.
How much is the superintendent paid?
Total compensation for the TPS superintendent in 2015 was $443,175 with a base salary of $174,500. A new superintendent’s total compensation for 2021-22 was $413,831* with a base salary of $281,105.
Average superintendent total compensation in Oklahoma is roughly $123,027.
How well are TPS students performing academically?
9% of TPS students are proficient or better in academic performance.
U.S News & World Report indicates only 14.1% of Tulsa’s seniors are college ready; 7% of Tulsa students are proficient in math and 11% are proficient in science.
How do TPS students stack up against their peers?
Tulsa’s performance is near the bottom of Oklahoma, which is near the bottom of the U.S., which itself performs poorly internationally.
In 2019, Tulsa’s overall ranking as a district was 499 out of 540 school districts, the bottom 8% of districts. Tulsa’s graduation rate is 78%, comparable to the state’s 83%—an indication that Tulsa may have an issue with grade inflation.
24% of Oklahoma students are proficient or better in academic performance.
U.S. News & World Report ranks Oklahoma 44th (eighth from the bottom) among the 50 states and Washington, DC, based on the number of schools that are in the top 25% of all schools nationally.
Oklahoma ranks 41st (11th from bottom) among the states in high school graduates’ college readiness.
Oklahoma’s National Assessment of Educational Progress results from 2019 are “significantly lower” than the nation’s public schools overall.
The U.S. spends more per-student on education than virtually any nation in the world (except very rich, very small ones), yet performs poorly internationally (except in literacy).
What about TPS staffing levels?
From 2015 to 2021, total full-time equivalent (FTE) certified staff in Tulsa Public Schools fell from 2,970 to 2,474, a decline of 16.7%. This is less than the percentage decline in students, so that the student/staff ratio fell from 13.5 to 13.2. From 2015 to 2021, total FTE certified staff statewide increased from 50,973 to 52,932, an increase of nearly 4 percent, dropping the student/staff ratio from 13.5 to 13.1.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE teachers in Tulsa Public Schools fell from 2,370 to 1,934, an 18.4% reduction, a drop basically equivalent to the drop in the number of students. Thus, the student/teacher ratio remained constant at 16.8.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE counselors in Tulsa Public Schools fell from 126 to 114, a 9.5% drop, half that of the number of students.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE teacher trainers in Tulsa Public Schools increased from 50 to 88, a 76% rise.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE teachers statewide increased from 42,170 to 42,920, a 1.8% increase, more than twice the percentage increase in students. Thus, the student/teacher ratio fell from 16.3 to 16.2.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE counselors statewide increased from 1,603 to 1,874, a 17% increase, 22 times greater than the increase in the number of students.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of FTE teacher trainers statewide increased from 284 to 630, a 122% increase, 167 times greater than the increase in the number of students.
*Note: This total-compensation amount does not include district-paid retirement benefits, which are substantial. For example, according to Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System data compiled in this data tool, Tulsa Union superintendent Cathy Burden retired at age 65 and is paid $200,718 annually. David Goin retired as Edmond superintendent at age 61 and is paid $181,298 annually.
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Byron Schlomach (Ph.D. in economics, Texas A&M University) has served as director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Goldwater Institute and as chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has also served as scholar-in-residence at the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise at Oklahoma State University. Write to him at email@example.com.