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OKCPS board member taking legal action on impending Northeast Academy name change

OKLAHOMA CITY -An Oklahoma City Public School board member is taking legal action and a community is outraged about an impending name change.

On August 12, the building formerly known as Northeast Academy will be welcoming students as Classen School of Advanced Studies. It’s just one school that is experiencing a name change or consolidation as part of Oklahoma City Public Schools’ “Pathway to Greatness” plan.

A district board member, Charles Henry, has filed a petition – claiming the district did not follow the proper policy for the name change since it didn’t put it “on the agenda for public discussion and vote.”

However, a representative for OKCPS says they believe they did comply with board policy.

In the meantime, alumni and community members are fighting to keep their school’s name and legacy.

"I hoped they would name it Northeast SAS or Kelly High School or just something that would have represented the location and just the pride behind it," graduate Marisa Holmes said.

Oklahoma City Public Schools says they'll be honoring the old name in a number of ways, including having Northeast as part of the name on the building but those we talked to say that's simply not enough.

“It means a lot more than just the name,” said Northeast graduate Michael Dwaine-Parker. “It’s the basic spirit of the school.”

With less than a month until the first day of class, changes are happening.

"I mean, down on my timeline they're recording the name being taken down, there's all these like 'sign this petition,'" said Holmes.

It's a change they're not happy about.

"It's pretty messed up," Dwaine-Parker said.

The district says it is currently talking with alumni about things like signage and a legacy room or plaza.

"I just really hope that they listen because this is our community," said Holmes. "This is where we grew up. A lot of us still live here."

Meanwhile, alumni and the community say they are planning a fundraiser for their efforts to keep the school’s name.

It will be held in the school’s parking lot Sunday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City Public Schools says they cannot comment because it’s pending litigation.

You can read OKCPS’s full statement below:

“On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, OKCPS legal services received a motion to join OKC Northeast High School Association to case number CV-19-1433 that was filed with the District Court of Oklahoma County on July 15, 2019. Because this is pending litigation, OKCPS cannot comment at this time. However, we look forward to working through the legal process to find a timely resolution.

In the meantime, OKCPS teams continue to prepare for the upcoming school year. We welcomed our amazing building principals back this week and community partners and volunteers are joining forces in new and innovative ways to support our students and families. Renovations also continue at a number of schools across the district, including our new athletic practice fields which are coming to life after a wet start to the summer. The excitement is building, and we look forward to welcoming our students back to OKCPS on August 12.”

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