- Oklahoma City Public Schools
OKCPS Response to the Application for Temporary Injunction and Motion to Dismiss
(August 13, 2019) Statement -
OKCPS RESPONSE TO THE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION AND MOTION TO DISMISS
On Monday, August 12, 2019, Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) filed a motion to dismiss the amended petition for permanent injunction as well as an objection and response to Mr. Henry’s application for temporary injunction.
OKCPS strongly disputes the allegation that our Board of Education did not fully comply with OKCPS Board Policy D-08 with respect to the renaming of Northeast Academy to Classen SAS High School as it relates to the Pathway To Greatness. Our policy clearly states that the sole responsibility for naming facilities rests with the Board, and this was accomplished through a unanimous vote of the Board during a public meeting on March 4, 2019.
In our Motion to Dismiss, OKCPS is asking the Court not to interfere with our duly elected Board of Education’s unanimous decision to rename the school, which was clearly within the Board’s discretion.
“As OKCPS starts a new school year for more than 45,000 students and nearly 5,000 employees, it is unfortunate that we are forced to spend such an exorbitant amount of time and resources addressing an issue that was clearly and appropriately settled on March 4th. Prior to that vote, the name of the school was discussed in detail at the public board meeting; and following that discussion, all eight board members - including Mr. Henry - unanimously voted to approve my recommendation to name the school Classen SAS High School. We remain confident in our position and look forward to the opportunity to utilize the legal process to address the specific allegations of the lawsuit. When we are successful, OKCPS will immediately seek recovery of all attorney fees associated with this frivolous case.”
- Dr. Sean McDaniel, Superintendent of Schools, OKCPS
“I believe in the policies and processes that our district has in place to deal with issues such as the naming of schools. Our board is committed to following them, and I have no doubt that the court will find this to be true. More than the waste of time and resources, I’m disappointed that something as exciting as the implementation of the Pathway To Greatness - a reinvention that our district has needed for decades - is being overshadowed by the ongoing banter associated with this case. I choose to remain focused on our students and will not allow myself to be distracted by Mr. Henry’s ongoing antics.”
- Paula Lewis, Chairperson, OKCPS Board of Education
Background: In October of 2018, as directed by the OKCPS Board of Education, Supt Sean McDaniel announced the Pathway to Greatness (“P2G”) project in order to take a district-wide approach to redesign the future of the District by aligning the District’s facilities and resources with instructional needs in order to provide equitable access to opportunity for every student. 2
The P2G process involved three phases: 1) data gathering and scenario planning, 2) community input, and 3) leadership decision making.
P2G was informed by a thorough assessment of District facilities and a detailed demographic study, as well as input from District staff and a variety of other stakeholders. In developing the three possible pathways, community meetings were held to obtain initial input and share the process with the community as follows: November 5th at Star Spencer High School, November 6th at Northwest Classen High School, November 7th and 8th at U.S. Grant High School and November 12th at Douglass Mid-High School.
On January 22, 2019, Supt. McDaniel presented the Board with three (3) possible pathways all of which included the movement of Classen School of Advanced Studies High School (“Classen SAS”) to Northeast Academy, formerly Northeast High School (“Northeast”). This presentation was followed by multiple opportunities for open community feedback as follows: January 23rd and 24th at U.S. Grant High School, January 28th at Star Spencer High School, January 29th at Douglass Mid-High School, and January 30th at Northwest Classen High School.
Then, on February 3, 2019, Supt. McDaniel provided the Board, including Mr. Henry, with a weekend update that summarized the process to date. In that update, Dr. McDaniel specifically stated that the Classen SAS 9th through 12th grade would move to Northeast Academy and would be called Classen SAS High School. The same message also advised the Board that there would need to be further discussion regarding how to incorporate the name “Northeast” into the high school name and how to affirm and honor the Northeast legacy.
Supt. McDaniel communicated with multiple alumni and community members regarding this issue, and on February 12, 2019, OKCPS invited members of the Northeast Alumni Association to participate in an online survey to gather their feedback on ideas how to honor the legacy of Northeast.
On February 21, 2019, when Supt. McDaniel presented the final recommendation for P2G to the Board, Mr. Henry was in attendance and asked several questions regarding whether “Northeast” would be included in the name of Classen SAS High School. At that time, Dr. McDaniel informed Mr. Henry that his final recommendation was to expand and relocate the high school portion of the existing Classen SAS program to the Northeast Academy campus and rename the school Classen SAS High School.
The recommended P2G path was then presented at community meetings on February 25th at Capitol Hill High School, February 26th at U.S. Grant High School, and February 27th at Northwest Classen High School.
One portion of the recommended Final Path was the expansion of the Classen SAS program, which is one of the District’s most successful application schools.
Over the years, Northeast’s enrollment had significantly declined while Classen SAS, which housed middle and high school students in the same building, operated with an extensive waiting list. Since Classen SAS’s school building limited the number of students who could enroll and one of the guiding principles of P2G was to build on our successful programs, a recommendation was made to move Classen SAS High School to Northeast thereby allowing more students to enroll in the program and increasing equity opportunities for more of the District’s students. Additionally, by moving Classen SAS High School to the Northeast campus, OKCPS could also increase enrollment opportunities for Classen SAS Middle School students who would remain at the original Classen SAS site.
On March 4, 2019, Supt. McDaniel made the recommendation to the Board for the P2G plan as presented at the February 21, 2019 Board meeting which included moving Classen SAS High School to Northeast and renaming the school Classen SAS High School. The PowerPoint presentation which was displayed during the Superintendent’s presentation 3
included a slide regarding application schools and a slide which showed that Northeast was to house Classen SAS High School. The Board unanimously approved Supt. McDaniel’s recommendation as to the final path under P2G. By such action, the Board renamed Northeast to Classen SAS High School in much the same way that it renamed Greystone Elementary School to John Marshall Middle School and Rancho Village Elementary School to Emerson South, and West Nichols Hills Elementary School to Belle Isle 5/6 School.
Since the March 4th Board meeting, OKCPS has spent a considerable amount of money and has invested countless hours on building signage, a new marquee, athletic uniforms, updates to the school website, and the creation of new school logo and letterhead. Meanwhile, among other things, a Legacy Room is also in the works to proudly display Northeast’s trophies, championships, and school history, along with plans to retain the Northeast Viking logo in the main entrance of the interior of the building in order to honor and remind students of the history of Northeast Academy.
OKCPS’ 2019-2020 school year began on August 12, 2019.
About Oklahoma City Public Schools
Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) is a multi-cultural district serving approximately 45,000 students. Our students are educated throughout 33 neighborhood elementary schools, 13 middle schools, 9 high schools, 2 alternative schools and 9 charter schools located within 135.5 square miles in the center of Oklahoma.
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