Parents remember mold was reason OKCPS officials gave for closing school now slated for pre-K

OKLAHOMA CITY - As parents are learning their pre-kindergarten students may be going to a different school than they thought under a last-minute consolidation plan, some are concerned that one of the schools overflow students will be sent to has mold issues.

Parents News 4 spoke to, and who took to social media, said they learned the news from school officials during community meetings regarding the Pathway to Greatness plan.

"We had been pushing really hard for Horace Mann to stay open and one of the board members told our parents that that wasn't possible because there was mold issues," said parent Brook Gerber. "If it's not good enough for our elementary school age kids, how is it good enough for our 4-year-olds?"

A spokesperson for Oklahoma City Public Schools told News 4 that a company who assessed all of the schools identified a number of issues that needed to be addressed with the majority of the facilities. She said Horace Mann was chosen for closure based on a number of criteria, but mostly because it could only hold about 300 kids.

In a written statement, she said,

“As part of the Pathway to Greatness plan, OKCPS committed to maintaining two temporary sites for Pre-K overflow classes. Initially, we planned to keep at least one class at each elementary school. However, a core principle of P2G has been listening to the needs of our students and community, and the district heard multiple times the importance of maintaining stability for our families who are attending schools outside of their neighborhoods on a transfer. In the short term, moving more of our Pre-K classes for high transfer schools to overflow centers allows us to support that stability for more transfer students to remain enrolled in their current school. It also allows us to continue to offer full day Pre-K, at no cost, to all of our families and to provide our teachers with the opportunity to collaborate with a team.

As part of P2G, our partner, ADG assessed all OKCPS facilities using 9 data criteria points. Decisions made to close schools were made based on a holistic view considering all 9 criteria, not any single one.  OKCPS would not occupy or allow another entity to occupy a building that was deemed to be unsafe for our students.”

But if that's the case, parents are wondering why they were told otherwise during the meetings.

"There needs to be more investigation into why it was said and whether the school is safe before I would feel comfortable sending my student there," Gerber said.

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