Oklahoma City Superintendent speaks about Pathway to Greatness plan

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OKLAHOMA CITY –  Authorities with the Oklahoma City Public School District say they have five months to make changes related to the Pathway to Greatness plan.

Earlier this week, the school board voted for the recommended Pathway to Greatness plan by an 8-0 vote.

In all, 15 Oklahoma City schools will be closed and repurposed as part of the district’s realignment plan. As a result, 17 other schools will be reconfigured into intermediate or middle schools, and mid-high schools will be turned into a traditional 9-12 grade format. School boundaries are also reconfigured.

According to the district, the plan is expected to save more than $4 million annually, which will be reinvested into class size reductions, increasing staff sizes and investing in professional development, supplies and transportation. It’s estimated the total cost for implementing the plan will total more than $11 million, with nearly all funds coming from bonds.

“One question I’ve heard often in the past several months is ‘Why can’t we wait? Why won’t you slow down?'” said board member Carrie Jacobs, speaking in favor of the Pathway to Greatness project that began more than a year ago. “Because students get one shot. They have one chance at 3rd grade. One chance at 8th grade. One senior year. We cannot wait. We have been waiting for decades.”

“We know that this has been painful and there’s more of that, until we actually get kids in school on August 12, and they’re running and playing, and teachers are teaching and PTAs are formed. And until that happens, there’s still going to be an amount of uncertainty and we feel that. But we believe that we’re on a great path, a great road,” said Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel after the meeting.

The plan will realign the school boundary zones and change transportation requirements for students at the start of next school year.

McDaniel said the plan will hopefully address declining district enrollment, overcrowding in some schools while others have empty seats, and provide the same educational opportunities and social support systems in all district schools, not just a few.

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