OKLAHOMA CITY-Continued controversy over proposed charter school expansion in Oklahoma.
One proposal would convert as many as six existing public schools into charter schools.
Some say the proposal is too strongly focused on the east side of Oklahoma City.
When our cameras showed up, some parents were scared to speak up against the idea of charter school expansion, fearing if they were seen talking against it, it could affect their jobs and student performance.
Some, however, say they’re not afraid to stand up for something they believe is unfair.
“How are these people coming together, to come into the neighborhood without asking anyone, or even considering that some of us are educated enough to stand up for our children,” said Nichelle Garcia, a parent.
Strong feelings from Garcia, who said a charter school could target her son unfairly.
“If the students have any type of disciplinary problems, if they’re not quite making the grade, they will not be allowed to stay in charter,” Garcia said.
The proposal outlines John Rex Charter Elementary school wanting to expand to include a new middle school, high school, and have as many as five elementary schools.
Some of those could be existing schools converted to a charter school.
“I gave John Rex a try, they were not very kind to my son, he had to go back to the neighborhood school, so my question to them is, if you take the neighborhood school, where is he going to go?” Garcia said.
The district has not named specific schools, but these parents say it’s a no-brainer, with Santa Fe and KIPP also wanting to expand.
“We feel like as tax payers that’s removing a lot of our children out of an education, keeping them from an education,” said Robin Leake, one of the meeting organizers and concerned East Side citizen.
“It doesn’t make sense and it’s a waste of money, they need to back off and leave our school alone,” Garcia said.
Citizens on the east side say they’re frustrated. They felt they couldn’t share opinions with our cameras rolling for fear of retaliation.
“Everybody should be able to come out here and speak when they want to, we’re going to table this meeting, and we will reconvene,” a meeting organizer said.
It wasn’t a popular decision, but they say they want to make everyone feel comfortable to speak out against something they say will be hurting their community’s future.
“If they can’t deal with the issues that they have on the east side, then what is changing to a charter going to do?” Garcia said.
“We just want to make sure things are done properly in our district,” Leake said.
The district does have information on their website assuring parents it will ultimately be their decision.
To watch the full video presentation, click here.