OKCPS board shuts down plan to return to traditional school year

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Public Schools board voted to keep so-called year-round school Monday night.

Superintendent Aurora Lora recommended the board keep year-round school and, ultimately, the members did.

The board voted to keep the continuous calendar year with a vote of 6-1, after a heated discussion over whether the cost of the program is really paying off.

“What we didn’t hear tonight was the plan. We heard the promise,” said District 1 Board member Bob Hammack.

It’s a plan that’s supposed to improve academics but, so far, simply hasn’t.

The largest school district in Oklahoma went to year-round school in 2010.

It sends students back to class two weeks early in August and includes two week breaks in the fall and spring.

“This whole remediation issue is very vital to the community, that we do all we can to make students have an equitable education,” said Greg Jones.

Greg was one of several people who spoke out in favor of year-round school Monday night.

“If we can develop remediation programs to get our children on track, we believe that will turn around the academic success of the district. Without it, you just have no chance of getting there because, in most cases, our children come to grade levels one and two years behind,” said Gary Jones.

Hammack was the only ‘no’ vote.

“I’m not sure why we continue to support a program that shows so little progress and we walk away from half a million dollars,” Hammack said.

Hammack said those savings could have happened under the traditional calendar because schools wouldn’t need to run air-conditioning earlier in the year.

“We’re saying we’re going to get this done now. Let’s start working on that plan,” said board member Gloria Torres.

“Okay, well, I hope a year from now we aren’t having the same conversation,” Hammack said.

The majority of teachers in the district said they prefer the year-round calendar.

Supporters of the plan said, after all the superintendent turnover this district has gone through, they hope to finally see results under Lora’s leadership.

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