Oklahoma City School Board wants details from state about possible school takeovers

Members of the Oklahoma City School Board expressed frustration Monday night that the state's plan isn't clear enough. Superintendent Karl Springer said a state takeover would be a step back for the district.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: February 21, 2012

As many as 24 Oklahoma City schools could be taken over by the state Education Department under a new plan that would identify failing schools statewide.

But members of the Oklahoma City School Board expressed frustration Monday night that the plan isn't clear enough.

“Unfortunately, there's a whole lot that we don't know yet,” school board Chairwoman Angela Monson said.

The state was granted a special waiver of federal No Child Left Behind rules earlier this month, but Oklahoma City Schools employees reported at the board meeting that they are still unclear about many of the specifics of the plan.

Cindy Schmidt, chief academic officer, and Terry Fraley, executive director of federal programs, presented the board with information about the state's new grading systems for schools.

Schools that fell into the lowest category were required to submit requests to avoid takeover this month, but the details of who will grade the applications and how are still unknown, Schmidt and Fraley said.

Monson said the district is willing to work within the state's reform plans, but she said officials have been stumped by a lack of information, communication and clarity.

Monson said the request failed to ask how school and district officials planned to improve the situation.

“We were not asked to be very specific and offer the rest of the story about what we can do,” she said.

Superintendent Karl Springer said a state takeover would be a step back for the district.

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What we're really asking for here is to the state to take a look at what we're doing and to give us some time to get it done.”

Karl Springer

Oklahoma City public schools Superintendent

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