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Oklahoma City school district could lose control of $3.7 million it spends on math, reading programs, services

Loss of waiver after Common Core repeal could restrict how Oklahoma schools spend federal funds.
by Tim Willert Modified: September 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm •  Published: September 2, 2014

The loss of the state’s No Child Left Behind Act flexibility waiver could redirect $3.7 million in federal funding that Oklahoma City Public Schools spends on programs and services for low-performing schools, district officials said Tuesday.

About 37 schools designated as “priority schools” — 26 elementary schools, eight middle schools and three high schools — use the money for summer school and after-school math and reading programs, professional development or supplemental curriculum for remediation purposes.

“They could be affected if we lose the flexibility,” said Terry Fraley, the district’s executive director of federal programs. “Right now, we do not know.”

Fraley and Oklahoma City Superintendent Rob Neu said Tuesday they are waiting for direction from the state Education Department and aren’t sure how the loss of the waiver will affect the district.

“We really don’t know what we’re dealing with until the state tells us how we need to move forward,” Neu said.

Without the waiver — revoked last week by the U.S. Department of Education after the state’s repeal of Common Core standards — local school districts could lose control over how they spend a combined $29 million in annual federal funding beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The state Education Department has identified as many as 1,600 Oklahoma schools that could be designated as needing improvement under No Child Left Behind, also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Districts with schools in need of improvement under No Child Left Behind accountability standards could be required to set aside funds beginning next year to pay for tutoring and transportation to better-performing schools if requested by parents.

“We are in the process of determining the Adequate Yearly Progress status for every school district and every school site in the state,” Tricia Pemberton, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department, said Tuesday.

“Once that status has been determined, we will be able to give districts specific information for the district and each school site.”

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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