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Black Chronicle
"The Paper That Tells The Truth"

Copyright 2015
Perry Publishing & Broadcasting.
All Rights Reserved.
Member: National Newspaper Association National Newspaper
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Oklahoma Press Association &
Suburban Newspapers of Oklahoma.
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Lopez: Some District
Officials May Get Axe
He May Fire As Many As
10 Executives


By JOHN W. SIMMS
Special to the Chronicle

 

Oklahoma’s City interim public schools chief said he plans to fire a number of top-ranked administrators as early as this week.
The predicted firings will come as part of a plan to shake up district operations and improve academic performance
Interim Supt. Dave Lopez did not identify those facing termination, but he said Friday that as many as 10 executives would be relieved of their duties for poor job performance
The interim superintendent told school board members last week that he intended to make sweeping changes to a counteract what he said had become a culture at district headquarters “based on oversight and compliance, rather than seeing ourselves as support for school sites.”
The Oklahoma City Public School System got39 F’s, 20 D’s, 14 C’s, 10 B’s and 10 A’s on report cards released in November by the Oklahoma Department of Education.
Of the district’s 93 schools, 18 schools improved, 10 remained the same and 65 decreased in the grades received.
Overall, the school district received a grade of F. The previous year, the district got a grade of D.
“There are those who are content with the way it is,” School Board Member Bob Hammack said Friday. “The only way to shake that up is to bring people in who are not satisfied with an F.”
Interim Supt. Lopez unveiled a sweeping six-month transition plan for consideration by the school board that includes a recommendation to overhaul the administrative structure by relocating about 100 employees from district headquarters to individual schools.
Those transfers are designed to combat complacency and improve responsiveness.
Those sites were said to be Greystone Upper Elementary School, Martin Luther King Elementary School, Douglass Mid-High School and Northeast Academy.
“The fact that we’re getting closer to our customer, I think, is a very good thing,” School Board Chairman Lynne Hardin said Friday. “I think this gives us a great opportunity to look at some of the operations that we can clean up.”
Interim Supt. Lopez said each school has an abundance of empty classrooms. Relocated employees, he added, could be called upon to relieve administrative staff or even teachers, if needed.
“In addition to their normal work, they’ll get a chance to be inspired by the students they get to see every day,” the interim superintendent stated Friday. “It will be a daily reminder that they’re there for the kids.”
Interim Supt. Lopez also announced plans to move another 150 employees from the district’s antiquated administration building into a smaller structure he said would help improve perception and cost the district less to renovate.
Speaking at the Jan. 6 school board meeting, the interim superintendent said the complexity of the district’s current structure “results in a general lack of accountability” and that departments “tend to work in isolation instead of coordination.”
“I am convinced that a realignment of duties will help us be more responsive, more efficient and more effective in supporting our schools,” he said. “There may be some trepidation, but I tend to think we get past the adjustment period.”
Interim Supt. Lopez said the initial focus of his transition plan would be “the highest level of management,” adding that he anticipates having a complete organization chart by the Feb. 3 school board meeting.

 

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