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Seminole County school leaders eye consolidation carefully

Leaders in Seminole, a community an hour east of Oklahoma City, say schools are the lifeblood of the community and that consolidation poses problems for small districts.
By Ben Luschen, Modified: July 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm •  Published: July 29, 2012

Seminole County has seen districts consolidate in the past. In November 2011, voters within the Pleasant Grove school district approved a measure that merged their school district with Seminole Public Schools. This came after budget cuts raised concerns over the future of Pleasant Grove Schools.

Though Pritchard welcomed the Pleasant Grove students and hired their teachers, the influx of population caused crowding at his schools. Pritchard wonders how his district would react if other nearby school systems had to be absorbed by Seminole.

“If one of these other districts was forced to close — say they have 500 students — wow,” he said. “We're needing to build some facilities really quickly.”

Pritchard says he can see both sides of the debate, but would like to see further consolidation coupled with careful planning, extensive research and sensitivity.

“You can look at it from afar and say we need to close the schools,” he said, “but when you go down and you look at each individual school — the administrators involved, the teachers involved, the families involved — then it's a tough conversation.”

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