By Chris JohnsonTulsa, OK (Reuters) – The annual graduation party at Tulsa’s public schools is the most expensive in the country, but it’s an easy way to get in on the ground floor of the Tulsa district’s plan to overhaul its schools, which are facing growing pressure to cut spending.
The Tulsa Public Schools’ graduation party in 2018 cost $30,000 to $50,000, depending on the school and the location, said TPS spokeswoman Rebecca Biddle.
That figure includes all the decorations, food and entertainment that go along with the celebration, which usually draws about 1,000 students and teachers.
“It’s kind of an informal party, but a lot of the staff and the teachers are there,” said Biddle, who works at the school district.
“It’s a chance to have a fun party.”
Tulsas graduation party is the first in a series of annual events to be held at Tulsa Public School campuses over the next five years, with a $30 million plan to bring in $15 million annually.
In 2018, the school system is expected to use the money to open a new classroom, expand its library and make improvements to facilities including a new gymnasium.
The new school will also be home to a new public art project and a new music program, all designed to boost students’ self-esteem and self-actualization.
The school district expects to spend $5 million on the event, including $5,000 on decor, according to Biddle’s office.
Tulsans annual graduation will be the first one since the district implemented a $10 million plan in 2012 to replace outdated computer systems.
The district’s budget for 2019 is expected at least $2 million, and Biddle said the cost could be as much as $3 million in the next few years.TPS, a public school system that serves about 4,000 kids in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been trying to overhaul the way it manages finances for the past two decades.
The districts budget has shrunk as the district has cut spending and reduced services.
But Biddle was confident the district would be able to meet its goal of a budget of $15 billion by 2023.
The annual graduation event is a chance for students to take their graduation vows and meet their teachers, officials said in a release.
“Our students are excited about taking their last, best shot at graduation,” Biddle wrote.
“We can’t wait to see what they do after graduation.”(Reporting by Chris Johnson; Editing by Andrew Hay)