Horace Mann Elementary is one of 15 schools in the Oklahoma City district recommended for closing.

Oklahoma City superintendent recommends closing 15 schools in sweeping overhaul plan

Feb. 22, 2019
Shuttering some facilities and reconfiguring others will enable district to boost school utilization to 84 percent from 60 percent.

Administrators in the Oklahoma City (Okla.) district has recommended closing 15 schools and reconfiguring or relocating 17 others.

The Oklahoman reports that Superintendent Sean McDaniel believes the facility overhaul is needed to equitably serve the district's 45,000 students.

McDaniel's recommendation calls for shuttering Linwood Elementary and Telstar Elementary in addition to 12 elementary schools and one mid-high previously identified for closure—Edgemere, Edwards, Gatewood, Green Pastures, Horace Mann, Johnson, North Highland, Oakridge, Pierce, Putnam Heights, Rancho Village, and Sequoyah elementaries and Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High.

The superintendent says he wants to "reinvent" the school system by aligning facilities and resources with instructional needs. To do that, the district will find other uses for closed buildings, convert six elementary schools into middle schools, relocate four charter schools and disband the district's mid-high model.

Greystone Elementary would be known as John Marshall Middle School and feed into John Marshall High School, and Parmelee Elementary would be known as Southeast Middle School and feed into Southeast High, an application school.

"We want all of our kids to have similar opportunities," McDaniel says. "We want equity to exist at much higher levels across our district of 45,000 kids.

Of the 57 schools that will be affected by the plan, McDaniel says 45 are ready to accommodate the proposed changes; 12 others will need some modifications.

The board is scheduled to meet March 4 to vote on the plan.

Public input from community meetings and surveys prompted McDaniel and his team to convert F.D. Moon Academy into a middle school instead of Martin Luther King Elementary. Moon is a former middle school serving elementary grades that shares space with KIPP Reach Academy.

KIPP, a charter for middle school grades, would occupy North Highland Elementary, which would be shuttered.

Three other charters would move into buildings designated for closure. 

The changes are expected to save the district about $4 million annually in operational and staffing costs.

The district will spend $1.3 million to reduce class size ratios for kindergarten through sixth grade, $707,000 to increase the number of school nurses, $732,000 to reduce the elementary counselor ratios, $297,000 to increase the number of assistant principals and administrative interns, and $967,000 on other enhancements, including professional, instructional supplies and transportation, according to projections.

McDaniel says it will cost the district approximately $11 million to carry out the plan, including $4.2 million for practice fields, uniforms, equipment and middle school locker rooms, $2.5 million to move staff, furniture and equipment, and nearly $3 million for improvements that include "fine arts remodels and other school remodels." Building and bond funds will cover the majority of expenses.

Of the 15 buildings that would be closed, McDaniel says he has secured district and community uses for 13.

The district says it has been spending about $2 million annually to maintain underutilized schools. Instead of operating at 60 percent of capacity, schools would operate at 84 percent of capacity after the plan is in place.

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...