29 March 2003
Monday night, the Oklahoma City Public Schools board is expected to approve a plan to close seven facilities at the end of this school year. Six of the seven schools would have been closed by 2006 under the city's MAPS for Kids master plan, but closing them early is expected to save $1.9 million for the beleaguered district.
State Representative Opio Toure, complaining that the closures unfairly target poor and minority students, has suggested that parents keep their children home one day in protest. Toure's Coalition for Educational Progress and Equity will meet today to discuss possible options.
In the Oklahoma City Public Schools generally, it seems to me, almost any school closing will impact minority students: more than a third of the district's students are black, another quarter are Latino, and there are substantial Asian and Amerindian contingents as well. Still, under the MAPS for Kids plan, new schools would be in place at approximately the same time the old ones were to be closed; under this accelerated consolidation, there will be a handful of schools temporarily operating with twice as many students.