Debate Continues Over OKCPS Overcrowding Plan

Tuesday, March 18th 2014, 5:58 pm
By: News 9

Schools are faced with overcrowding in some areas and empty classrooms in other areas. To fix the problem, school district administrators are proposing a change to the district boundaries. The Board of Education will vote on the proposal at the end of March.

The district has experienced an explosion of growth in the neighborhoods on the south side of OKC. At the same time, district officials say the northeast and northwest parts of the city have seen a decrease in student population.

"We want to take advantage of the space we already have and balance out the school district," said OKCPS Spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin.

Tinnin explained that the district plans to draw new boundaries, which would mean some students currently attending schools on the south side would be bused to schools on the north side of OKC.

At U.S. Grant High School for example, the max capacity should be 1,621 students but the current number is actually 1,660. Under the new boundaries, district officials project the number to drop to 1,436.

At Capitol Hill High School there has been a similar situation. The max should be 1,079 but 1,215 student actually go there. The projected number, if the changes were implemented, would bring that number down to 1,046 students.

The south side's three middle schools, Roosevelt, Webster and Jefferson, are all over capacity, too.

By drawing the new boundaries, some of these students would attend schools to the north, such as Douglas High School. This year, the school was only at about half of its capacity. Northwest Classen High School also has room for more students.

Seniors at the high schools would be exempt from moving to a different school before graduating. But this would only be a temporary fix, according to district officials. Growth on the city's south side is not expected to slow down much in the near future so the area will need additional classrooms or even a school. That would be part of a longer-term plan, according to Tinnin.

District officials said the plan was admittedly not ideal but it created a logical, temporary fix to alleviate problems and enhance student experiences.

Parents will have an opportunity to learn more and voice opinions on the place at a meeting set up for Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at U.S. Grant High school. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and Spanish translators will be on hand, according to the school district's announcement.

For more information on the proposed changes go to the OKC Public School website.