Braelyn Polite shook his head and covered his eyes. The 12-year-old cried into his mother's shoulder. His elementary school — the one his older brother attended and his younger brother still goes to — had been put up for sale.
His mom, Nikki, wiped tears from her eyes as she talked about volunteering there with other parents.
“There's nothing wrong with that school,” she said.
The Midwest City-Del City School Board voted unanimously Monday night to sell Sooner Rose Elementary, Traub Elementary and the district's enrollment building. There was no discussion before the vote, which was taken at a special board meeting.
Superintendent Bill Scoggan, who will retire June 30, did not attend the meeting.
Parents, teachers and administrators packed the boardroom and grumbled when the board members did not discuss the sale before the vote. The public was not allowed to comment because it was a special meeting, district spokeswoman Stacey Boyer said.
A few people shouted at board members as they recessed for executive session after the vote.
“Since when did my child's education become surplus?” Rachel Osentowski called out as the board left the room.
The audience applauded her as she left in tears.
Outside, Osentowski said she is distraught about the sale of Sooner Rose Elementary, where her 5-year-old son attends kindergarten. He has a wonderful teacher, she said, and test scores there are better than the state average.
“She's an excellent teacher — the best,” she said. “This is absurd.”
Sooner Rose and Traub elementary schools both were on the list of six schools that would have been closed if a $191 million bond issue passed in December. The bond failed with 59.63 percent of the vote, just short of the 60 percent super majority needed. The board will consider future bond proposals beginning in April.
Since the December bond proposal failed, district officials have discussed myriad possibilities to close a funding gap, such as firing 200 teachers or closing schools.
Officials will begin advertising the property for sale today, said Pam Twidwell, assistant superintendent of operations for the district. Board members will review bids April 1 and review them until the following board meeting, which is April 11.
The sale will include several options, Twidwell told the board. For example, bidders can purchase the property outright or buy the property and then rent it back to the school district for a variety of lease lengths.
“There's quite a variance in options for the bidders,” she said.
Sooner Rose Elementary, 5601 SE 15, was built in 1942. About 390 students are enrolled.
Traub Elementary, 6500 SE 15, was built in 1958. About 380 students are enrolled.
The Central Enrollment Center, 2712 S Midwest Blvd., is an office building that houses several district departments, such as enrollment and special education.
After the vote, parents said they felt slighted by the lack of discussion among board members.
Many also were upset that the vote was taken during a special meeting, preventing them from commenting.
Boyer, the district spokeswoman, said the board needed to have a special meeting to jump-start the slow property sale process.
“The main thing is to get the money to save our staff,” she said. “It's not a very quick process to put buildings up for sale.”
If the buildings are sold, the district will save money on operation costs, freeing up cash to pay for teachers, Boyer said.
The next regular board meeting will be March 21, she said.