School Closures Cause Uproar

Due to several budget cuts, Oklahoma Public Schools are facing up to twenty elementary school closures in the upcoming year. The Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent, Sean McDaniel, is calling this action the “Pathway to Greatness” plan, in an effort to better align the district’s facilities and resources with instructional needs.If this call of action goes as planned, many of these buildings will be used for after-school programming sites. In order to efficiently implement this plan, there will have to be a shift in grade structures. Middle school will now start in fifth grade, resulting in one less year of elementary school for students. 

This is a way in which Sean plans on giving back to the community, while also maintaining spending cuts. An even bigger issue was the lack of enrichment classes, such as art courses and physical education. Those will now be offered in every class, along with an average of three times more teachers per grade. This plan will end up saving Oklahoma Public Schools 4-6 million dollars! While “The Pathway to Greatness” will result in school closures, there are opportunities at the end of the tunnel. 

Oklahoma Public Libraries is the repository for Oklahoma Public Schools. Political Communication Center's Curator and Archivist, Lisa Henry, and other members of the Oklahoma Archivists Association and library staff worked on the extensive project of processing items such as class pictures, yearbooks, PTA directories, building plans, etc. Attached is an image taken by Lisa that captures the history of one of the closing schools. 

 

**Fun Fact: Former Sequoyah elementary school student Erik Logan grew up to be president of Oprah Winfreys production company. Sequoyah Elementary school is one of the many schools shutting their doors this upcoming school year. 

 

1.  "Oklahoma City Proposal calls for closing at least 13 schools (2019)" https://www.asumag.com/facilities-management/oklahoma-city-proposal-calls-closing-least-13-schools

2. "OKC District could choose as many as 20 Schools(2019)" https://oklahoman.com/article/5620673/okc-district-could-close-as-many-as-20-schools

3. "Historical Nuggets on the Closing of OKCPS Schools (2019)"https://nondoc.com/2019/05/04/historical-nuggets-closing-okcps-schools/

 

Abby Sullivan, Summer Intern