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Changes on the way for Broken Arrow School District

Posted at 5:55 AM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 06:55:02-05

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Changes are on the way for some Broken Arrow students as the district is preparing to open another elementary school.

The Broken Arrow School District plans to open it’s 16th elementary this fall, but this means hundreds of students will have to commute to a different school.

“We understand that this needs to take place," said Brent Harris, a Broken Arrow School parent. "There is going to be people and families affected regardless of what the outcome is.“

Last month, the Long Range Planning Committee made up of parents from every elementary and middle school gave the board of education it’s recommendations on the attendance boundaries.

Harris has two children who attend Highland Park Elementary and said the proposed changes would force his family to commute an additional 6000 miles each year to the new elementary school.

“In the particular neighborhood that we live in, there are only five middle school students that are scheduled to go here that would go 150 percent further than where we are today, in terms of commute, which is less than one percent of the capacity of this school,” said Harris.

“There is a very small number of people in that area right now, and that is true, but it’s a rapidly growing area and there are developments going in all over the place out there," said Charie Hannema, Broken Arrow School District's Director of Public Relations. "So, while those numbers may true right now, in a year or two that could be a much different story.”

Hannema said the district is growing by nearly 3 percent each year and in the last couple of years has increased by about a thousand students.

He said right now, Highland Park Elementary has only a four percent capacity level and the challenge the district is faces is making sure they can accommodate growth in the future.

“We’re working on the best plan for everybody obviously, but there’s no perfect solution when you have a district with 19,500 kids that continues to grow.”

The Long Range Planning Committee plans to meet Tuesday night to make adjustments after hearing concern’s and thoughts from the public.

If they decide to make more changes, it will have to be posted before the board can vote.

This means there may not be a decision until the February board meeting.

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