OKCPS Holds Town Hall On New Plan For Redistricting

Monday, April 7th 2014, 11:56 pm
By: News 9

A controversial plan to re-draw the Oklahoma City Public Schools boundaries is on hold.

The district is going back to the drawing board as it looks for ways to solve the severe overcrowding problem.

The push to move forward with the redistricting plan, primarily focused on the city's south side, received some major drawback.

District officials hope more input from parents and community leaders will help.

"There has to be some other plan B," an upset parent said at last month's Town Hall.

Last month was the first time parents from across south Oklahoma City had a chance to speak out on a plan to alleviate overcrowding in the district.

3/25/2014 Related Story: Parents Speak Out About OKCPS Redistricting Plans

"There's an awful lot of moving going on and not a lot of building is my problem," Taft Middle School parent, Melodie Garneau Monday, said.

Less than a week before the board was to vote on the controversial proposal to redistrict Oklahoma City schools, district officials made an unexpected decision and held off on the proposal.

"I'm not sure that they heard from enough people or gave enough thought to all the other questions," Garneau said.

Garneau has a special needs son in sixth grade at Taft Middle school. If the plan is put in place, student enrollment at Taft could jump from 589 to well over 700.

"His classroom size needs to be smaller, if it can't be mainstream," said Garneau. "So it makes it even harder."

"Every one of our middle schools in Oklahoma City has had over 1,000 students," the district's Chief Information Officer, George Kimball, said.

District officials hope town hall meetings will give them better options. Monday, it was a small but vocal crowd, mostly teachers.

"I would like to see a little bit more people out here, especially parents," said parent, Cela Calderon. "They'll be the ones having to deal with that change with their child and with themselves and with their daily lives."

Interim Superintendent David Lopez said there are some serious concerns, and the district needs to be sensitive.

"We don't have any apathy, people care, and that's a good place to be, and I'm glad the parents are involved," Lopez said.

A second town hall meeting will be held at Douglass High School Thursday night.

The new redistricting plan will be handed over to the board for a possible vote April 21.