Non-violent offenders cleaning up school buildings, saving taxpayers’ money

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The state's largest school district is getting an outdoor makeover, which could end up saving the district thousands of dollars.

Workers are trying to clear debris from the operation center for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

"We are reorganizing the entire facility and making it much more friendly," said Lynne Hardin, board chair for OKCPS.

The district is working with the SHINE Program, a local program that uses non-violent offenders sentenced to community service, to complete the heavy lifting.

"We're going to clear out the vegetation that's overgrown," Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said. "You can see behind me, there's the boxes that need to be gone through that had been stored here for years and years."

Teachers and principals are also able to get some much-needed school supplies, which will save the schools thousands of dollars.

"This was sort of the catch-all place. If something was sent out or if something was broke down, send it out to the service center," Maughan said. "This can be better utilized and opened up for the school district."

Organizers say some of the work that is being done outside could eventually lead to an old school being demolished.

"There's some buildings that have been long overdue for maintenance and as a result, they've gone beyond the point of being able to save," Maughan said.

For the new leaders of the districts, it's more than organizing a service center.

Once the operations center is cleaned up, the SHINE program will work on cleaning up 86 schools and other buildings in the district.