OKCPS faces busing problems and enrollment loss as schools open

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The state’s largest district, Oklahoma City Public School is facing some hurdles as they kick off the first week of school under the new Pathway to Greatness plan.

Back in March, the school board voted unanimously to move forward with the Pathway to Greatness, a huge overhaul and reorganization of the entire district.

“If I had a nickel for every time somebody said there is no way you could do that all that work done over the summer, I’d have pockets full of change,” said Dr. Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent at the annual State of Schools luncheon today in NE Oklahoma City.

McDaniel and other school officials say big changes have been made over the summer, specifically equity issues, making sure every student has the same opportunities to learn.

“P2G says no matter where you live in the city, we are going to do a good job of removing the obstacles and providing access. Every single elementary had a stem lab up and running,” said McDaniel.

There are reports on social media that there are serious busing issues.

A mother saying on Facebook in part,

“Parents, beware. My son’s bus was missing for 3 hours last night. He will not be riding the bus any longer.”

The school district is aware of issues with buses, especially at John Marshall Middle School.

“Kids weren’t getting home until after 6:30 in some cases. Our teams got together last night started working on solutions. I think there will be marked improvements today,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel says they are short drivers but says more phone lines have been opened so parents can talk directly to a person about problems.

“We know there is anxiety. We know that when a mom is at a bus stop after school waiting for her child to get off the bus and the kid doesn’t get off the bus, we know alarm bells go off,” said McDaniel.

As part of the new Pathway to Greatness plan, the number of students at certain schools has gone up, in some cases more than doubling.

“An elementary last year that had 280 kids has 650 kids and so the car rider lines are longer, bus drop off and stops are different. We’ve got some hiccups but we are going to make it through the first couple of days but things will settle,” said McDaniel.

As for the issue of total enrollment numbers, officials say they are down.

“We were projecting to have fewer kids as many as 15 to 1700 fewer kids this year,” said McDaniel.

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