South Side OKC Families Skeptical Over School Conversion Plans - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

South Side OKC Families Skeptical Over School Conversion Plans

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The plan to convert Jackson Middle into an elementary has been part of the 12-year-old Maps 4 Kids plan. But that plan has sparked controversy, and after 12 years, many believe, it's outdated. The plan to convert Jackson Middle into an elementary has been part of the 12-year-old Maps 4 Kids plan. But that plan has sparked controversy, and after 12 years, many believe, it's outdated.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The plan to turn a south side middle school into an elementary school has many wondering if it's really a good idea. 

Students would be sent to three different schools, but Oklahoma City School officials say the conversion is not because of overcrowding.

The plan to convert Jackson Middle into an elementary has been part of the 12-year-old Maps 4 Kids plan. But that plan has sparked controversy, and after 12 years, many believe, it's outdated.

"It's set up for the change that's about to take place for our school kids," said Jackson Middle School Asst. Principal, Julie Roach during a walk-through.

Roach takes us through Jackson Middle slated to turn into an elementary school as early as next year.

"They'll bring in smaller tables to adjust for the heights of the children," said Roach.

Construction to convert Jackson into an elementary has been on-going for at least the past five years and even though district officials say overcrowding is not an issue, some board members disagree.

"It's absolutely an overcrowding issue," said Means.

OKCPS Board member Jay Means says south side schools are bursting at the seams, and new schools were built with 10-year-old projections.

"It's a shell game. We're just moving kids here, and we're moving kids there," said Means. "The real solution is going to be to build schools on the south side."

The outdated Columbus Elementary will close, and those students will be re-routed to the new Jackson Elementary.

"Basically just shuffling kids around, and you're not fixing the problem," said Angelica Doroteo.  

Angelica's son is in the 7th grade at Jackson. She believes because the area is predominantly Hispanic, and because of language barriers, her community is being taken advantage of.

"They've had 12 years to prepare, and now you want to change things overnight," said Doroteo.

Means says students will be moved to already overcrowded Webster, Jefferson, and Roosevelt Middle schools.

"So, where are those kids going to go?" asked Means.

The board still has not officially voted on the changes. But as News 9 reported, plans to redraw lines in parts of the district with a focus on the south side, were released last week.

According to a district spokesperson, the district HR department had a meeting with Jackson staff last week to inform them that they could have first choice of where they wanted to go next year.

Wednesday, the HR department had a meeting with Jackson staff so they could sign up for first choice of open middle school positions. The meeting was part of the Teachers Union negotiated agreement. 

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