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OKC Parents Concerned About Split Classroom Proposal

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

When it was time to think about school for her son, Amber Knapp wanted him to go to Cleveland Elementary because of the options for enrichment that were offered.

“We actually chose this neighborhood across the street for this school,” she said.

Over the years, financial struggles have impacted the school. Ryan will be in third grade next year and he could feel yet another effect of budget cuts.

The district proposed adding more split classrooms, where students from two grades are in one class, to elementary schools in the district.

Amber was one of several parents who voiced concerns about the idea at Monday night's board meeting.

“I ask that you delay for another year this split class decision until we have a new superintendent,” she said during public comment.

Now, there are reportedly 18 split classrooms in the district.  But board member Mark Mann said there's no system in place to support those involved.

Mann said the proposal, to raise it to 57 split classrooms next year, is not the solution.

“All the problems that have led to this are really problems created by the legislature and adults – not kids,” he told News 9. “And I don’t think it’s appropriate to put kids in a classroom that’s a multi-grade classroom where the teacher is ill-prepared and has not been trained and there’s not a process to make that successful. So we need to come up with the money to figure out a way not to do that to our kids.”

At an upcoming meeting, Mann said he expects the district to provide some options for how money could be shifted so that they don’t have to have 57 split classrooms next year.

And he said hopefully staff will provide information on a possible system if they do decide to do this in the future.

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