View Full Version : OKCPS to Possibly Close up to 20 Schools



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Midtowner
01-18-2019, 03:59 PM
OKCPS has been looking at their current operations since the new Superintendent joined them. Currently, their school buildings are underutilized and many are in deficient states of repair. News reporting released today indicates that as many as 20 sites are being looked at for permanent closure. No list has yet been released.

Midtowner
01-19-2019, 05:06 PM
I guess it's public info since it's been released on Facebook. The Harding building at 32nd and Shartel will be closed. HCP announced that just the site is closed, so one would speculate that they're relocating to another school which is being closed.

DoctorTaco
01-19-2019, 05:59 PM
This is going to be painful but people I know who are close to the process say that consolidating schools like this should have been done a decade or more ago.

OKC Guy
01-19-2019, 06:56 PM
This is going to be painful but people I know who are close to the process say that consolidating schools like this should have been done a decade or more ago.

Totally agree

OKC Guy
01-19-2019, 06:56 PM
I guess it's public info since it's been released on Facebook. The Harding building at 32nd and Shartel will be closed. HCP announced that just the site is closed, so one would speculate that they're relocating to another school which is being closed.

Do you have a list of all closures?

Midtowner
01-19-2019, 10:00 PM
Do you have a list of all closures?

I don't. It should be released Tuesday. The frustrating thing is that it seems like that every affected site has heard the news, but no one is aggregating that information. It's almost as if we are missing a source of news which people pay writers to publish content about what's going on in this city.

citywokchinesefood
01-19-2019, 11:21 PM
I don't. It should be released Tuesday. The frustrating thing is that it seems like that every affected site has heard the news, but no one is aggregating that information. It's almost as if we are missing a source of news which people pay writers to publish content about what's going on in this city.

I am pretty sure they are too busy begging people to subscribe as they cut their already meager content down.

Rover
01-20-2019, 09:56 AM
I don't. It should be released Tuesday. The frustrating thing is that it seems like that every affected site has heard the news, but no one is aggregating that information. It's almost as if we are missing a source of news which people pay writers to publish content about what's going on in this city.
Local comprehensive news sources aren’t being supported well enough to do comprehensive reporting. Segmentation enabled by cheaper distribution of news via the net means sources that are narrow but deep. Who would support or go to a web site that only carried local news reporting in depth about such things as school closings, traffic stops, etc. Sites like this provide some info, sites like tv stations add some, but nobody is doing widespread in depth news on multiple subjects.

On this subject, I suggest reading the book “The Long Tail”. J

bombermwc
01-21-2019, 07:40 AM
This is just reality of a district that is too spread out and has been declining in numbers for decades. LONG overdue. Yes, it means your local school may close. That's life.

Hey, my own elementary (East Side) was dozed when they combined three of them in Mid-Del to make one new one (on my school's site). It's not quite the same thing when the re-name the place and nothing's left of the old place. And next, they're gonna close my old Jr. High (Jarman). But that place was never given the attention it should have by the district, so it's been a pile of poo for decades.

It happens and if you want the district to be financially viable, they need to release some of this property. The kicker for me is, how many of these properties got Maps4Kids money put in to them, only now to close them?

Midtowner
01-21-2019, 11:35 AM
There are going to be three different competing plans.

DoctorTaco
01-21-2019, 01:33 PM
I would call this a scoop. Some early details of the plan from NonDoc:https://nondoc.com/2019/01/21/okcps-realignment-paths-revealed/

Midtowner
01-21-2019, 02:26 PM
Yup. I’m still a subscriber to the Oklahoman out of a sense of civic duty to support my local paper. If all they’re going to do is print press releases and curmudgeonly opinion pieces, I may look to spend on something else.

jerrywall
01-21-2019, 02:29 PM
Yup. I’m still a subscriber to the Oklahoman out of a sense of civic duty to support my local paper. If all they’re going to do is print press releases and curmudgeonly opinion pieces, I may look to spend on something else.

If the Oklahoman was a free paper like the gazette, I still wouldn't go out of my way to pick it up at this point. If I was going to subscribe to a local paper, it'd more likely be the Edmond Sun.

stile99
01-21-2019, 03:25 PM
Yup. I’m still a subscriber to the Oklahoman out of a sense of civic duty to support my printed in Tulsa paper.

Fixed that for you.

Midtowner
01-21-2019, 04:35 PM
Fixed that for you.

I don't care where it's printed. It seems as if a few websites and the Gazette are what we have for news coverage of entities which don't produce their own content for the media. Our TV news stations occasionally, once in a blue moon do something surprising, but it's mostly sending cameras out to take b-roll of parked police cars wherever the shootings were that day.

Uptowner
01-22-2019, 02:06 AM
That’s police scanner reporting, not journalism :)

Midtowner
01-22-2019, 10:26 AM
That’s police scanner reporting, not journalism :)

If only they did use scanners. Our local media is so lazy and short staffed that I'll bet they wait until they receive a phone call from the Public Information Officers regarding local goings on.

shawnw
01-22-2019, 10:46 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_A3Ho7aFQs

Full video of the board meeting discussing the closure options...

mugofbeer
01-23-2019, 12:38 AM
Is there a list of the schools, yet?

SouthSide
01-23-2019, 09:04 AM
Is there a list of the schools, yet?

You can view the three plans here:
https://www.okcps.org/Page/3745

Midtowner
01-23-2019, 10:19 AM
The District is wanting to shutter the Harding High School building completely and greatly expand Classen's enrollment. The District is not being clear as to what its intentions are with the two schools, simply that they will relocate. One would speculate that the Distrcit intends that should the schools continue to operate, they will be moved clear across town to the Centennial Mid-High building. This is obviously a run at trying to recover some of the enrollment OKCPS perceives they lost to the Hardings--both of which are highly successful charter schools which, unlike Classen SAS, do not require students to test to enter (though the Hardings regularly outperform Classen SAS in rankings).

There was a lot of talk about increasing equity for students, but it appears to me that OKCPS is doubling down on being a two track district with one large magnet school system for students who are able to make it, then another track for everyone else.

turnpup
01-23-2019, 10:28 AM
The District is wanting to shutter the Harding High School building completely and greatly expand Classen's enrollment. The District is not being clear as to what its intentions are with the two schools, simply that they will relocate. One would speculate that the Distrcit intends that should the schools continue to operate, they will be moved clear across town to the Centennial Mid-High building. This is obviously a run at trying to recover some of the enrollment OKCPS perceives they lost to the Hardings--both of which are highly successful charter schools which, unlike Classen SAS, do not require students to test to enter (though the Hardings regularly outperform Classen SAS in rankings).

There was a lot of talk about increasing equity for students, but it appears to me that OKCPS is doubling down on being a two track district with one large magnet school system for students who are able to make it, then another track for everyone else.

What it shows in the plans is for the existing Classen SAS to be a middle school for its current student body and for the kids in the middle division at NE. The existing Classen SAS high-schoolers are to be transferred to NE to join with their existing high-schoolers. According to the plans, both are to be "application" schools. My question is regarding how/if that changes each high school's existing admissions and/or track of study programs. Also, if NE would have previously been your feeder school for middle school and high school, where would you be entitled to go if you aren't accepted into the new combined Classen/NE structure? Maybe MLK Middle and Douglass HS, as that's where they're proposing to feed Wilson and John Rex kids?

As for the Harding charters, I believe there had been a suggestion of relocating them to the Centennial facility. I'd be curious as to the cost analysis of what it would look like to take both those programs and get the Centennial property repurposed to suit their needs vs. maintaining their existing facilities at the Harding building and doing repairs as needed.

Midtowner
01-23-2019, 10:35 AM
The existing Harding facility was neglected by OKCPS for many years and I expect the cost of a full renovation would be prohibitive. That said, I know they put about $2 million into a new HVAC a few years back with a grant and I don't know exactly what needs to be done in terms of maintenance, but negotiations will start in February. I don't see Centennial as a great option primarily because of its location. You'd be moving the existing inner-city neighborhood school with all of its community ties a full 20 minutes away in the middle of wheat fields. I'm sure the facility is objectively nicer, but who ever thought 103rd and Kelley was going to be a highly populated area?

turnpup
01-23-2019, 10:44 AM
The existing Harding facility was neglected by OKCPS for many years and I expect the cost of a full renovation would be prohibitive. That said, I know they put about $2 million into a new HVAC a few years back with a grant and I don't know exactly what needs to be done in terms of maintenance, but negotiations will start in February. I don't see Centennial as a great option primarily because of its location. You'd be moving the existing inner-city neighborhood school with all of its community ties a full 20 minutes away in the middle of wheat fields. I'm sure the facility is objectively nicer, but who ever thought 103rd and Kelley was going to be a highly populated area?

Agree completely. I'm also concerned about how many other schools are slated for closure in the core. Several, if not more, of them seem to have a strong parental involvement component and are fixtures in their neighborhoods. These are neighborhoods that are evolving back into thriving developments. Will closure of a school that their kids can walk to affect future redevelopment?

Even with respect to Classen SAS, there's such a strong walkability component for the students that it's hard for me to imagine those same kids having to drive or be driven over to NE every day. It has always made me feel good seeing them walking to and from school every day in droves, even when the weather isn't optimal, many lugging heavy instrument cases. Losing that element seems a shame.

Not trying to be hyper-critical of the proposals, but rather just airing some concerns. Clearly change is needed. I do like the emphasis back on elementary, middle and high schools as separate entities.

shawnw
01-23-2019, 10:45 AM
Money was put into every school as part of MAPS for Kids and we're not getting that money back once schools are shuttered, right? I mean, buildings and land will be sold, but is it possible to break even here?

turnpup
01-23-2019, 10:47 AM
Money was put into every school as part of MAPS for Kids and we're not getting that money back once schools are shuttered, right? I mean, buildings and land will be sold, but is it possible to break even here?

That's another fair observation. We used to live in the Linwood neighborhood. That school was added onto twice in recent years. It's now slated for closure in one of the three plans.

Midtowner
01-23-2019, 10:51 AM
Money was put into every school as part of MAPS for Kids and we're not getting that money back once schools are shuttered, right? I mean, buildings and land will be sold, but is it possible to break even here?

No money was put into Harding as part of MAPS for Kids. At the time, the school building was vacant. Since it has been occupied by the two charter schools for the past 16 years, those schools have obtained grants and donations to greatly improve the structure. There are some pressing structural concerns, but I'm not on board with the "this building isn't safe" crowd yet. I don't think that's a statement based in fact.

turnpup
01-23-2019, 10:57 AM
No money was put into Harding as part of MAPS for Kids. At the time, the school building was vacant. Since it has been occupied by the two charter schools for the past 16 years, those schools have obtained grants and donations to greatly improve the structure. There are some pressing structural concerns, but I'm not on board with the "this building isn't safe" crowd yet. I don't think that's a statement based in fact.

Again, agree. It appears to be working fine for them as it is now, and all their previous improvements would be simply gone if they had to abandon that building. Then you have to ask what is the likelihood of the building being mothballed for many years after becoming vacant. If it's that structurally defunct, who's going to want to spend the money on substantial repairs in the immediate future? This whole relocation of the Hardings seems not the best fit, either for the schools or for the fate of the building itself.

Johnb911
01-23-2019, 11:38 AM
I wonder if part of the move to close Harding is because it would be one of the most appealing buildings on the resale market. Cool building, good neighborhood. Land. Could be developed into desirable housing.

Good friends with a family who's kid goes there. They told me the alumni just put $250k into the library there. I don't know if that was just on books and computers that can be moved, or if there was a remodel involved that would be lost.

Pete
01-23-2019, 12:02 PM
^

Yes, that Harding property is awesome, both in architecture and location.

Here at the Gazette, we are getting ready to take on an intern from Harding, a super sharp kid.

I'll be sad to see the school stop functioning but have no doubt it could be redeveloped into something great.

Midtowner
01-23-2019, 01:28 PM
I wonder if part of the move to close Harding is because it would be one of the most appealing buildings on the resale market. Cool building, good neighborhood. Land. Could be developed into desirable housing.

Good friends with a family who's kid goes there. They told me the alumni just put $250k into the library there. I don't know if that was just on books and computers that can be moved, or if there was a remodel involved that would be lost.

The library was gutted and completely redone.

BridgeBurner
01-23-2019, 03:20 PM
Oh dang, the school in my neighborhood (Hawthorne) is on 2/3 plans :(
Can't really imagine a good scenario coming out of that.

rtz
01-23-2019, 05:57 PM
From the nondoc article; it mentions OKC having "54 elementaries". Then later states "OKCPS is Oklahoma’s largest school district, with more than 45,000 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year" and then this: "though the student population remains far lower than what OKCPS served in the 1950s and 1960s."

How is that even possible?

Jersey Boss
01-23-2019, 06:05 PM
From the nondoc article; it mentions OKC having "54 elementaries". Then later states "OKCPS is Oklahoma’s largest school district, with more than 45,000 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year" and then this: "though the student population remains far lower than what OKCPS served in the 1950s and 1960s."

How is that even possible?
Smaller families would be my guess as well as private/home schoolers being more in vogue.

corwin1968
01-23-2019, 06:18 PM
I don't. It should be released Tuesday. The frustrating thing is that it seems like that every affected site has heard the news, but no one is aggregating that information. It's almost as if we are missing a source of news which people pay writers to publish content about what's going on in this city.

I was in one of the schools scheduled to be closed on Tuesday and didn't hear a peep about it. I suspect the principal probably knew but if she told anyone, they kept the secret.

Architect2010
01-23-2019, 06:38 PM
As a Southeast HS graduate in 2010, my main fear was that our magnet and charter schools would be targeted due to their smaller enrollment figures.

Glad to see that is not the case.

Also, Parmalee being converted to a middle school when Webster is literally a half-mile away? Questionable to me, but I won't pretend to know the demographics and enrollment challenges. I no longer stomp around there. Haha.

Dob Hooligan
01-23-2019, 06:44 PM
From the nondoc article; it mentions OKC having "54 elementaries". Then later states "OKCPS is Oklahoma’s largest school district, with more than 45,000 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year" and then this: "though the student population remains far lower than what OKCPS served in the 1950s and 1960s."

How is that even possible?

I'm guessing growth of outlying districts. Putnam City, Edmond, Moore...

Teo9969
01-23-2019, 09:23 PM
I don't know enough about the educational enterprises to know what's changing here and how to look at this news from that perspective.

From an OKC-Inner-Core real estate perspective, this seems like a *huge* deal. Something like 6 or 7 buildings inside the I-44/I-235/I-40 loop. Horace Mann, if it can be repurposed, is a massive piece of property sitting right on a Western Avenue that has quietly picked up some steam the last 2 years. Going to be interesting to see how that piece of the puzzle turns out, especially in light of the recent OU Med Center development.

HHE
01-23-2019, 09:55 PM
The new boundaries are interesting. Links at the bottom of the page.

https://www.okcps.org/Page/3745

SouthSide
01-23-2019, 10:23 PM
The boundaries for remaining schools is going to have to change as well. U.S. Grant is not the only southside school with too many students for the existing facilities.

aDark
01-24-2019, 09:38 AM
The new boundaries are interesting. Links at the bottom of the page.

https://www.okcps.org/Page/3745

So, the new boundaries are just proposed, right? When would this be voted on and finalized?

Midtowner
01-24-2019, 12:24 PM
The boundaries for remaining schools is going to have to change as well. U.S. Grant is not the only southside school with too many students for the existing facilities.

If Horace Mann is vacated, I'd expect to see a charter startup in that building pretty soon looking to continue with the partnership that school has enjoyed with CHK just across the street.

shawnw
01-24-2019, 04:32 PM
If this plan is moving charters like Harding, it doesn't seem like the district would then turn around and approve a different charter that goes against their streamlining plan...

okccowan
01-25-2019, 08:47 AM
On the P2G plans, John Rex is listed as an elementary school only feeding into MLK Middle SChool (which is really really far away from John Rex). It sure seems like the School Board plans to take away the charter for a John Rex Middle School.

DoctorTaco
01-25-2019, 09:29 AM
On the P2G plans, John Rex is listed as an elementary school only feeding into MLK Middle SChool (which is really really far away from John Rex). It sure seems like the School Board plans to take away the charter for a John Rex Middle School.

This is incorrect. The only reason Rex is even mentioned in feeder patterns is that it is the only charter elementary school in OKCPS with a designated feeder area. So they are saying that if you live in the Rex elementary feeder area, your default middle school in that area is MLK. Until this week the default was Taft for most of the Rex area.

All other charters in town do not have a designated area and take kids by application only, so they are sorta oblivious to any redrawing of boundaries. RIght now the Rex Middle School is acting like a "traditional" charter in that it has no designated neighborhoods feeding into it. So for that reason Rex Middle school isn't mentioned in regards to boundary redrawing.

But it is even more confusing, because if you live in the Rex elementary feeder area you are also in the Wilson elementary feeder area. So you can actually choose which elementary to send your kids to without transferring or applying into either. But the Wilson area is much larger than the Rex area (and this week became much larger). The Rex elementary area can be thought of as an "overlay" on the other school boundaries, and the size of this overlay did not change this week.

It is kind of muddled.

Midtowner
01-25-2019, 09:35 AM
All other charters in town do not have a designated area and take kids by application only,

To be clear, they are admitted on the basis of a lottery or first come/first serve--not according to ability or disability.

turnpup
01-25-2019, 09:59 AM
Actually, John Rex and Wilson's attendance zones don't overlap. The current John Rex attendance zone is here: https://johnrexschool.org/about/attend/

And Wilson's is here:
https://www.okcps.org/cms/lib/OK01913268/Centricity/domain/115/maps/Wilson.pdf

Interestingly, under the proposed plan, both Wilson and John Rex would feed into MLK for middle school and Douglass for high school.

DoctorTaco
01-25-2019, 11:21 AM
Actually, John Rex and Wilson's attendance zones don't overlap. The current John Rex attendance zone is here: https://johnrexschool.org/about/attend/

And Wilson's is here:
https://www.okcps.org/cms/lib/OK01913268/Centricity/domain/115/maps/Wilson.pdf

Interestingly, under the proposed plan, both Wilson and John Rex would feed into MLK for middle school and Douglass for high school.

Interesting. See the new Wolson boundary here: https://www.okcps.org/cms/lib/OK01913268/Centricity/Domain/1312/Boundary%20Maps%20All%20Paths%20Website.pdf which still does not overlap with Rex.

Looking at this I note that all of Edgemere Heights/Crown Heights/Paseo is now zoned to Wilson. Wilson has long been seen as the "desirable" elementary. I'm curious if those neighborhoods might reconsider sending their kids to public school now that Wilson is back on the table? I doubt it but interesting to consider. Right now most Crown Heights kids (all?) go to private schools.

turnpup
01-25-2019, 01:07 PM
Interesting. See the new Wolson boundary here: https://www.okcps.org/cms/lib/OK01913268/Centricity/Domain/1312/Boundary%20Maps%20All%20Paths%20Website.pdf which still does not overlap with Rex.

Looking at this I note that all of Edgemere Heights/Crown Heights/Paseo is now zoned to Wilson. Wilson has long been seen as the "desirable" elementary. I'm curious if those neighborhoods might reconsider sending their kids to public school now that Wilson is back on the table? I doubt it but interesting to consider. Right now most Crown Heights kids (all?) go to private schools.

Also, I wonder if feeding in the future to MLK for middle and Douglass for high school (from Taft/NW Classen previously) will be considered a lateral move, or a good one, or a not-so-good one to those parents of Wilson students. It'll be interesting to talk to some parents to see how they feel about it.

shawnw
01-26-2019, 02:19 PM
Upcoming community meetings...

15137

Midtowner
01-28-2019, 06:47 AM
If this plan is moving charters like Harding, it doesn't seem like the district would then turn around and approve a different charter that goes against their streamlining plan...

That's exactly what they did with the Harding building though.

DoctorTaco
01-30-2019, 02:19 PM
Apparently some of these public meetings have been heated. Citizen comments at the meeting at Douglas lasted until after midnight last night.

reverend
01-31-2019, 11:50 AM
Oh yeah, it got heated at NW Classen last night. Looks like my kids at Horace Mann, which is not a low population school, will be moving next year. But it won't be to another OKCPS school. I've been against sending them to a charter school, but now I don't really care. OKCPS will continue to struggle as more people bail from the district.

HHE
01-31-2019, 12:21 PM
Are there any videos of the meetings? Also I wonder why there have not been many updates from the local journalists.... If someone has an updated article please post a link.

shawnw
01-31-2019, 12:33 PM
While they do post the board meeting videos, if they are recording the community meetings they have not yet posted them:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcyRYC8sjI0VI0cilAOvZ_g/videos

bandnerd
02-01-2019, 11:07 AM
Are there any videos of the meetings? Also I wonder why there have not been many updates from the local journalists.... If someone has an updated article please post a link.

The meetings have been going to 11 p.m., 12 p.m. and apparently beyond. I don't think any of the reporters stuck it out that long. That would be some long video. KOCO had Facebook live for the first community meeting but the feed was cut not that long into the evening. I think that's why the updates have been brief.

It's mostly just been airing of grievances, where I think the board and supt. wanted to hear what plan people wanted. The parents don't want any schools to close, obviously. That's been the theme. That and asking for answers that haven't come.

reverend
02-02-2019, 03:05 PM
I went and spoke at NW Classen, but it was apparent that they didn't care what we had to say and I left after I said what I needed to say. This has not been very transparent. They were using the results of a vague survey to justify these actions. Now a whole section of OKC is going to have moth balled schools. Whole thing is a joke, and the punchline sucks.

HHE
02-13-2019, 09:15 AM
OKCPS Board Meeting to approve the Plan to Greatness is scheduled for March 4th at Northeast Academy starts 530 and ends 730.

aDark
02-13-2019, 12:37 PM
OKCPS Board Meeting to approve the Plan to Greatness is scheduled for March 4th at Northeast Academy starts 530 and ends 730.

I know there have been numerous lengthy public meetings about the proposal. I have not been able to attend and I don't know the current public opinion on this plan. Does anyone with more insight into the process have a prediction for whether or not the Plan to Greatness will be approved?

DoctorTaco
02-13-2019, 01:21 PM
I know there have been numerous lengthy public meetings about the proposal. I have not been able to attend and I don't know the current public opinion on this plan. Does anyone with more insight into the process have a prediction for whether or not the Plan to Greatness will be approved?

The reception is different in each area: The Northwest side stands to lose the most, and are consequently opposed in large part because of the impact on this or that specific school/neighborhood. The south side stands to win the most in terms of resource allocation (largely making up for decades of inequitable distribution of OKCPS resources) so I think those folks are largely in favor. The Northeast side has no faith in any of it, because they have been so often burned by public education since...forever. So the NE side is largely opposed but the sense I have is that is in response to deeper distrust than to the plan in and of itself. No teaching staff will lose their jobs over this, but many will be reassigned, and as such the teacher's reactions are case specific. I think many understand the underlying need and philosophy but their reaction depends largely upon the situation at their particular school. Some are heartbroken to see their schools shut down, some might be said to be relieved. My sense is that the teacher's unions have been brought inside this process from an early stage.

As to whether or not it passes, all signs are the votes are there at the school board to pass it.