OKCPS parents give unanimous "no" to redistricting

US Grant High School parents unanimously oppose redistricting. They expressed their concerns Tuesday at a Town Hall meeting. The first of a number of town hall meetings was held at the US Grant HS auditorium, and it was standing room only.

From the very beginning, it was clear parents felt overcrowding was a problem that should have been solved years ago. One woman said the district has failed south side students.

A freshman at US Grant gave an emotional speech about having pride in his school and his cross country team. He tearfully said he doesn't want to leave his teammates.

Parents also addressed violence. They said if students have to be moved from the south side to the north side, it could cause gang violence to erupt. Many students and parents would be forced to travel in neighborhoods occupied by rival gangs.

Others said if students were forced to travel further to get to school, it would only make drop out rates even higher.

Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez admitted there are no good solutions to the overcrowding problem. He also pointed out that whatever the solution is, would only be temporary until new schools could be built.

Even though the response to the idea of redistricting was negative, Lopez says he now knows what information to bring to the school board.

"We have to move forward with construction as quickly as we can get architects to draw plans because this is a necessity," Lopez said. "The next thing is that even though we don't like portables for a variety of reasons, people would prefer that to busing students elsewhere. "

Rep. Richard Morrissette was at Tuesday's meeting. When he asked all those in favor of redistricting to raise their hand, not a single hand went up. He said he will do everything he can to stop the plan.

Even if the district decides to build new schools, they need to pass a bond to do it and the entire process could take 3-4 years.

Most parents said even though there are security issues with using portable classrooms, they feel that would be the best option for students until new buildings are built.