Wednesday, March 29th 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Parents continue speaking out against a controversial proposal to save money at Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Several schools in the district would close, as part of a consolidation plan. The proposed closure of two schools in particular have residents living in the surrounding areas up in arms. FOX 25 learned Wednesday is that while both schools are small in size, they’re filled with big hearts.
Edgemere Elementary prides itself on community. In fact, the school, which is filled with 200 young, inquiring minds, is Oklahoma City’s first community school.
“A community school is not just about education, it’s about meeting the needs of the children and families first,” said Kelly Pearson, founder of Friends at Edgemere Schools.
This is just one reason why Pearson says those living in the area were floored when OKCPS Superintendent Aurora Lora proposed Edgemere’s closure.
“I couldn’t believe it.” Pearson said. “They gave us a promise three years ago, not even three years ago, for a five year pilot. And I was flabbergasted that we were on the list.”
That list includes six schools, all of which the city has poured millions into improving. In November, voters approved $5 million in bonds earmarked for maintenance, technology and transportation needs. Prior to that, $15+ million was allocated in MAPS for Kids money.
“When you add up all the investment in the school and the dozens of dozens of community agencies and people that are invested in these kids, to me it’s just a waste and it’s telling the community we don’t really want you,” said Pearson.
Residents living in the Gatewood neighborhood feel the same way. Gatewood elementary has been serving its community since 1927 and the area has experienced a rebirth in recent years.
“Given the booming that’s going on in this area, how do you then take away a school to support that growth in this community? You can’t,” said Raquel Frazier, a Gatewood supporter.
Residents living in the Edgemere and Gatewood communities can help ensure the schools stay open by contacting the school board directly.
The school board will vote on the plan next Thursday, April 6.
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