“Our kids need an education,” Putnam City parents angry over proposed change

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Putnam City parents are angry over a proposed changed to their elementary school.

The district is proposing to convert Kirkland Elementary to an early childhood center.

This all has to do with Oklahoma’s budget shortfall and cuts to education.

At a special meeting held Thursday night, administrators explained to parents that, next year, it is losing $4.5 million.

They say changing Kirkland from a pre-k to 5th grade school to a pre-k to 2nd campus would save about $273,000.

"There's a lot of things we have to think about, and none of them are things we really want to think about. They aren't choices that we want to make," said Steve Lindley with Putnam City Schools.

On average, redistricting would increase class sizes by three to five students.

Parents worry bigger classes will lead to poorer education.

They are also afraid of losing Kirkland’s foundation.

"There's culture here. There's diversity, but there is also exemplary education and to see that, to see that go away is really difficult," said Cassidy Roach, a parent of three.

It is a difficult change parents feel they should not have to deal with.

"Money's being cut on the kids. Instead of the people that's cutting the money," said Damian Boehmisch. "Let's take some zeros off some paychecks, not the teacher's paychecks.”

As a Kirkland parent himself, State Representative Jason Dunnington agrees money should not be taken away from our children.

"I think that it's time for this state to decide what they value the most. I think it's time for this state to decide what kind of investment they're willing to make for the future. I believe, as a state representative, the best investment we can make is in our children," Dunnington said.

The school board could vote on the redistricting proposal at Monday night’s 5 o’clock meeting.

Parents who have questions are asked to email Superintendent Dr. Fred Rhodes at frhodes@putnamcityschools.org.