City leaders: Millions were spent to renovate Oklahoma City schools that may close

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OKLAHOMA CITY - While the Oklahoma City Public School District is facing budget cuts due to a revenue failure, now parents and city leaders are speaking out about the proposed plan to close several schools.

On Monday, district officials announced several schools in northeast Oklahoma City may be closed as a way to save the district money.

Superintendent Aurora Lora announced the plan to close Moon Academy, Edgemere Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, Johnson Elementary and Green Pastures Elementary in Spencer.

“I think it’s devastating to the families and students especially,” said Lindsay Lange, the PTA president at Edgemere Elementary School.

Lange said she doesn't want to move her son from the school.

“He’s loved it. He thrives here,” she said.

She’s furious over the Oklahoma City School District’s recommendation to close the school.

What’s worse, she said, is the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on renovations.

“I don’t have words. Just sick to my stomach,” she said.

Edgemere was one of several schools in the district given taxpayer money for improvements as part of the Maps for Kid’s Project.

“The city invested $3.3 million for Edgemere School. There is a public school bond that has $2 million slated for a new gymnasium, and that design process is underway and the design has been approved just last month,” said Ed Shadid, Ward 2 Councilman.

If the school board approves the closure, the district would have to either build a gym at Edgemere for another purpose or the money would go back to taxpayers.

The MAPS money, however, is already spent.

Others schools recommended for closure are facing the same reality.

FD moon received $41,000, while Gatewood Elementary received $2.78 million.

Green Pastures Elementary received $4.3 million, and Johnson Elementary received $2 million.

It is money that has already been spent on schools that may soon be empty.

“I think the bottom line is this legislature has to be held accountable for leading the county in cuts to education over the last five years. They are like spoiled children who don’t want to do their jobs, and we have to hold them accountable to do their work. They have to do their jobs,” Shadid said.

Lange said she’s committed to her job, working to make sure the district realizes what Edgemere contributes.

“We can make a difference if they just give us a chance. We do things for kids that other schools don’t like the after-school program, outside mentoring, the Oklahoman and whiz kids,” Lange said.

A parent informational meeting is scheduled for 7:30 pm. March 28 at Edgemere.

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