OKCPS Plans To Use Portable Classrooms To Make More Space

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 8:20 pm
By: News 9

Several south Oklahoma City schools are currently overcapacity, and the problem is not expected to go away anytime soon. Now, the district is trying to make enough room to accommodate all the students.

The original plan was to re-draw the district boundaries, bussing students to schools on the North side. After parents spoke up in opposition, the district went back to the drawing board.

Students pack the hallways and classrooms of south Oklahoma City schools. In fact, U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill High Schools both sit over capacity.

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"We're going to need to tend to it pretty quickly," Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez said.

Lopez said the overcrowding problem is not going away. As the area population grows, so does the number of students, and finding a solution isn't easy.

"It used to be that you could look ahead and say, ‘Okay, here's where we'll be in a decade,'" said Lopez. "Now, that's a challenge even looking two to three years out."

So, the district plans to purchase portable classrooms to make more space, while permanent additions to the high schools are designed and built.

3/18/2014 Related Story: Debate Continues Over OKCPS Overcrowding Plan

The overcrowding is affecting young students too. The proposed plan calls for two new elementary schools and a new middle school in south Oklahoma City.

"The district has been very conservative in its finances, and we actually have about $27 million dollars of bond money from our 2007 bond issue that hasn't been assigned for a specific purpose yet," Lopez said.

This plan comes after parents spoke out against an earlier plan to bus students to different schools.

4/7/2014 Related Story: OKCPS Holds Town Hall On New Plan For Redistricting

Lopez admits this isn't an ideal solution but said the input from parents marks new involvement.

"It may have been easier to deal with apathy, but any day I'd trade the active engagement from those parents," said Lopez. "They guided us to what I think is a better solution."

The Board of Education will have to approve the plan.