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OKC Public Schools Presents Plan To Redraw District Lines

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The district is desperately trying to come up with ways to relieve over crowded situations because of continued growth. The lines have been drawn with a focus on the city's south side. The district is desperately trying to come up with ways to relieve over crowded situations because of continued growth. The lines have been drawn with a focus on the city's south side.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A plan to redraw lines in parts of the Oklahoma City school district sparked strong emotions from parents and teachers.

The district is desperately trying to come up with ways to relieve over crowded situations because of continued growth. The lines have been drawn with a focus on the city's south side.

"We need all the help we can get," said Angelica Doroteo.  

Doroteo's son is in the 7th grade at Jackson Middle School, and she fears the school that has been part of her community her entire life, will close for good.

"Some of the teachers have been there since I've been there and they're like family and I care as much about them than I do my children," said Doroteo.

Doroteo pleaded with OKC school board members to keep Jackson Middle open. The plan is for the middle school to close and become the home of Columbus Elementary. Students would be sent to three other middle schools.

"In my opinion there is no better alternative," said Dr. George Kimball, presenting the proposed boundaries.

At least a dozen elementary schools would be affected by the first phase of redistricting. Phase two will focus on secondary schools. The district says they are in a bind for at least the next four years. 

"I don't think anybody saw the explosion in the Hispanic population," said OKCPS board member, Phil Horning."

"Yeah they did," said OKCPS Board member, Jay Means. "They did see it."

"Well let's agree to disagree, again," said Horning.  

Some OKCPS board members say they have no choice. Drastic moves must be made to alleviate severe overcrowding.

"If we're going to build buildings, we need people who understand how to project population based on school growth," said Means.

Construction over the past decade has opened new schools, and renovated existing ones, part of MAPS for kids. But district officials say even with expansion and additional construction, student growth within the district has outpaced expansion efforts. 

"The population on the south side has exploded and these plans represent plans from 12 years ago," said Jackson Middle 7th grade teacher," Jordan Lincenberg. 

"I don't think it's right, and if I'm the only one to fight, then so be it," said Doroteo.  

Churches and strip malls were even mentioned by board members as potential places to temporarily help with overcrowding. News 9 is told by district officials a bond issue would have to be passed to provide additional classrooms at some schools, in some cases, new schools all together.

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