The Oklahoma City Public School (OKCPS) Board of Education voted to support a charter school’s expansion in the district.
Monday night, the board approved a proposal that will allow KIPP Reach College Preparatory charter school to move its existing school and eventually open two new schools.
Both sides debating this issue have been filled with fire for the last several months, and Monday night's meeting was once again packed.
The audience was filled with people wearing blue shirts supporting KIPP, but the apparently outnumbered opposition did not lack enthusiasm.
“KIPP is not the solution to our problems. It will never be the solution to our problems,” said parent Nichelle Garcia.
The board heard from a long list of people during public comments.
Both against KIPP's plan to co-habitate and share strategies and from those in support of a school they say changes lives for the better.
“During my career at KIPP, I passed all my state tests and I made a perfect score on my eighth grade state test,” said one former student.
KIPP also supported her through college, she added.
In the end, the board approved an amended proposal recommended by Superintendent Aurora Lora. Lora said she aimed to give neighborhood schools more attention and give parents more options with her recommendation.
Immediately, KIPP, which is currently grades 5 through 8, will move from FD Moon Academy to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, where there is reportedly more than enough vacant space.
In 2017-2018 the KIPP Elementary School will open. In 2018-2019, the KIPP High School will open. The sites for those two schools are still are to be determined by a task force.
Lora said the Northeast Oklahoma City Community Task Force will be assembled in the next month, reportedly made up of various stakeholders including parents and students.
They'll make their recommendations on locations in September and December, Lora said.