1) If a school shutdown happens, how will the funds be used?
The Community-Wide Steering Committee began in early March surveying community resources that currently or could potentially support Bartlesville children, particularly the most vulnerable, in the event of April 2 school closure. The committee also began extensive discussions with teachers to determine how they could be supported in ways that would lessen their personal financial burdens as they participated in actions to bring the plight of public education to the attention of our state legislators. Based on this research, the committee established the two funds described on the homepage of this website. Here are some specific examples of how donated funds would be used:
- Teacher Support Fund: 1) Transportation support (rented buses, gas cards, turnpike tolls, etc. ) for teachers traveling to and from Oklahoma City to participate in rallies and other events beginning April 2. Cost example: A one-day rental of one regular school bus is more than $500. 2) Education materials such as handouts, posters and printed banners. 3) Cost for bottled water, snacks and other incidentals as teachers participate in local or state capitol events. (Cost of lodgings for teachers staying in Oklahoma City will not be covered by this fund.)
- Education Support Fund: 1) Although free breakfasts and lunches will be available at some schools, children spending the day at community resources such as the Boys & Girls Club and The Rock, will have their meals and snacks at those locations. This fund helps reduce the financial burdens on these resources. 2) By the same token, community resources such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, The Rock and others will be taking on additional trained staff to supervise children for the entire day. These are unplanned expenses that need to be covered. 3) Several Bartlesville churches have stepped forward with offers of support including providing nutrition, transportation, and child care supervision. Even with volunteer help and in-church financial help, there are likely to be costs associated with providing such assistance and services.
2) How will my donation be matched dollar-for-dollar?
The challenge means every dollar you contribute will be matched by contributors who have already pledged more than $20,000 in support, with the goal of raising at least a total of $40,000. This challenge match is made possible by a group of approximately 30 Bartlesville citizens who care deeply about public education. In the space of 24 hours between March 17 and 18, they stepped forward to challenge our community to make sure that -- if schools have to close -- every child has a safe place and meals to eat and that our teachers have the financial support to stand up for our students locally and at the state capitol.
3) How will the money from the two funds be distributed?
The allocation for money from both funds will be handled through an application process managed by the financial subcommittee of the Bartlesville Community-Wide Steering Committee. The steering committee is the official coordinating network of school administrators, teachers, PTOs, churches, nonprofits and other organizations and resources that has been convened to assist parents and teachers in the event of a school suspension. The committee was convened by one of the founders of PEAK at the beginning of March when it became apparent the suspension of public schools and teacher walkout was a real possibility that required community-wide planning and preparation.
4) What will happen to my donation if there is no suspension and walkout?
For both the Teacher Support Fund and the Education Support Fund, contributions will be held until the state legislature has adequately funded public education, including meaningful increases in teacher salaries. In the case of the Teacher Support Fund, a portion of donations may be utilized before April 2, especially for materials to support teachers (signs, banners, etc.) that have to be prepared and paid for in advance. Any remaining money left in both funds after a satisfactory resolution of the current crisis in Oklahoma public education will be transferred to two local foundations supporting Bartlesville schools and students: the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, which since 1985 has provided grants to outstanding teachers and innovative programs in local schools, and Bartlesville Education Promise, which focuses on improving educational outcomes for all students, particularly high-risk students, and improving graduation rates and readiness for higher education, technical school or full-time employment.
5) Can I contribute directly to one of the organizations helping out?
Of course! If you'd like to support a particular organization that is stepping up its services during the school closure period, contact that organization and donate directly. The Education Support Fund operated through the Bartlesville Community Foundation is designed as a quick and convenient method for you to show your support for all Bartlesville organizations that may need extra funds to care for students.
6) What is PEAK (Public Education Advocates for Kids) and who belongs to it?
PEAK was formed in February 2017 by a small group of Bartlesville education advocates and has since grown into a network of more than 300 citizens with strong ties to the Bartlesville public school system including parents, teachers, private sector professionals, grandparents and other education advocates. PEAK participants come from all sectors of the community -- business, professional, nonprofit and public service. It is a grass-roots network of more than 300 local public education advocates. It has no state or national affiliations, membership dues or office expenses. PEAK strives to inform citizen of the challenges facing public education and to encourage citizens to actively engage with Oklahoma legislators -- particularly our local elected representation. It is only through this strong and sustained engagement that our children will receive the quality education they deserve and must have for a successful future.
7) How is the Community-Wide Steering Committee helping parents prepare for a possible school suspension?
The following communication from the steering committee was distributed to schools and PTOs on Friday, March 16:
Parents with children in the Bartlesville school system are encouraged to begin planning now for a possible suspension of public schools that could begin on Monday, April 2 and would last for an unknown number of days.
In the event of a suspension, the elementary schools, middle schools, and high school will be closed for instruction and no classes will be held. Students will not be able to attend school as they normally do. You are encouraged to start planning ahead in the event the suspension takes place.
The Bartlesville Community-Wide Steering Committee provides these recommendations to help parents/guardians begin planning now:
Child Supervision Choices for Parents
Stay home with your child
- Seriously consider this choice if your job allows for vacation days, sick days, etc.
- Consider forming a child care co-op with other parents in your neighborhood.
Arrange for supervision
- If your child is currently a member of a youth organization, church, or club, contact that organization to see if services will be provided.
- For children who are not members of a church, club, or youth group that will offer services during the suspension period, the steering committee is gathering information on additional community resources. A resource list will be distributed by schools the week of March 26.
Children staying home alone
- This decision is for you to make, based on your child’s age and maturity. (Parents were referred to a later section in the letter regarding considerations for children staying home alone.)
Breakfast and Lunch Services at Most Schools
The school district is finalizing a plan to provide free breakfast and lunch at most, but not all, elementary school sites, and initially during any suspension period at middle schools and BHS. Children can eat at any of the selected sites regardless of the school they attend. More details including a list of participating schools will be announced on or before Monday, March 26.