Parents and teachers expressed frustration Thursday night with a plan to close Jackson Middle School and reopen it as an elementary school, saying it will fracture a close-knit school community and lead to uncertainty.
“They don’t have a plan for our children ... and they’re moving out leaders in our community,” said Angelica Doroteo, 34, the parent of a Jackson seventh-grader. “What is going to happen with our kids? Where will they go? What is planned for our teachers? What about transportation?”
A tearful Doroteo and others addressed the Oklahoma City School Board, which is considering a far-reaching plan to alleviate elementary school overcrowding by realigning school boundaries, adding portable classrooms and closing the middle school and reopening it in August as Columbus Elementary.
Jordan Lincinberg, a Jackson science teacher, said it didn’t make sense to close the school when the district will need more middle schools in the near future. Closing Jackson will leave the district with three middle schools.
“It is an easy Band-Aid solution to a structural problem with our system,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense and it is throwing our kids under the bus to find a place for Columbus.”
Dozens of district schools would be targeted by the proposal, which includes adding 22 portable buildings — the equivalent of 44 classrooms.
Most of the schools affected are on the city’s south side, which is experiencing sharp population increases in the Hispanic community. All but one of 13 schools that have capacity problems or soon will have problems are on the south side.
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