Numbers Issue Cause Some Moore Students To Transfer More Than Once

Thursday, August 22nd 2013, 8:38 pm
By: News 9

Some students in Moore started the year at new schools after the May 20 tornado destroyed their own. Now, some of those students learned they have to move again.

More than 100 Moore elementary students were transferred to new schools, some for a second time. Class size is an issue every year for the district and losing two schools to tornados didn't help

Connor Choate, 9, attended Broadmoore Elementary School for four days before this happened.

"They took him out of class in the middle of school in the hallway and told him that he would no longer be attending Broadmoore, and as of Monday, he would be transferred to Sooner Elementary," said Sunny Choate, Connor's mother.

Connor was excited to start 4th grade at Broadmoore and has the T-shirt to prove it. So learning that he would be sent to Sooner Elementary because his school was overcrowded broke his heart.

"It was rough, you know. He's crying and has to go back into the classroom," said Sunny Choate. "And he's already in a strange, new place, and now he's being told he'll be shipped somewhere else."

Connor's home was damaged in the May 20 tornado, along with his last school, Briarwood Elementary. Now, his family lives at grandparents' home while his house is being repaired. His parents enrolled him in the nearby Broadmoore, making Connor one of the last to enroll and first to be transferred.

"Although it may not be fun. It may not be their first choice. They certainly understand the need," said Jimi Fleming, spokesperson for Moore Public Schools.

Fleming says overcrowding is always an issue that they try to solve as early as possible.

"There are X number of students, X number of classrooms, and it becomes a numbers game," Fleming said. "It's 118 students out of 12,500. It's a very small percentage. But even one is too many and we would love to be able to accommodate them."

Fleming said Moore Schools is one of only two school districts in Oklahoma that has a class-size number cap. The total number of students in Moore Pre-K through 3rd grade classes is 22, and it is 26 for grades 4th through 6th.

Moore Public Schools is the third largest school district in Oklahoma, and Fleming says the growth continues to outpace construction. A new Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary will be built in one year and two more schools will be built after.

"We had a major influx who just enrolled students this month," Fleming said. "Although this does happen, we have an overflow every year, because of the class-size cap, and people forget, we're still in the recovery process too."

Eight teachers were also transferred to new schools. Moore schools say they still won't know full enrollment numbers until after Labor Day.

"Maybe put the numbers aside and think about the kids," Sunny Choate said. "Schooling is supposed to be about the children, and all it's about is their numbers."

Choate's family was told Briarwood Elementary has an opening in its temporary location at Emmaus Baptist Church, and that's where Connor will start school on Monday.

Moore Public Schools is currently in negotiations with its teachers' union to increase class size by two students. Each family with a recently transferred student was contacted individually by the school district.