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District officials announce that embattled Oklahoma City elementary school will remain open

OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a tumultuous week for an Oklahoma City elementary school,  it seems that district leaders have made a decision about its fate.

Last week,  Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora described it as a “school in crisis.”

The district proposed moving North Highland’s 350 students to Britton Elementary School in the fall due to an issue with personnel.

At the time, Lora said she believed the move was necessary because North Highland is lacking a principal and has no qualified candidates for the position. The office staff has resigned and only four core teachers are scheduled to return, according to a district press release.

With only five weeks left before the school year begins, the district initially said that it doesn’t have the time to staff the school with people who can set the school up for success, according to the release.

On Friday, district officials learned that vandals had targeted North Highland Elementary School.

Photo provided by Oklahoma City Public Schools

“On Friday night, North Highland Elementary was vandalized and sustained significant damage to a large part of the building, particularly the office spaces, hallways, classrooms and the showcase area where windows were smashed, school equipment was destroyed and paint was thrown on walls. District teams are now working around the clock to assess the damage, catalog items believed to have been stolen and secure the facility from further harm. OKCPS is also working with police and will be providing the security footage of the individuals who are responsible for the vandalism and theft of these public resources, which are so critical to the education of our children,” a statement from the Oklahoma City Public School District read.

Photo provided by Oklahoma City Public Schools

However, it seems that district officials had a change of heart.

On Monday, the Oklahoma City Public School District announced that North Highland Elementary School will remain open for the upcoming school year.

“After careful consideration and exploring a variety of options, OKCPS Superintendent Aurora Lora has made the decision to move forward with staffing North Highland Elementary for the 2017-18 school year so we can welcome students on August 1st,” a statement on the district’s website read. “To facilitate this, Superintendent Lora will appoint an interim principal, and district teams will work to staff the building with additional supports including an extra assistant principal, full-time counselor, and two social workers, all of which were allocated to North Highland prior to the consideration of a temporary closure. North Highland students will also be offered the option to transfer to neighboring schools with space via a transfer process to be coordinated by the Superintendent’s office. The transfer application process will be communicated to families this week.”