charter schools

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two years ago, the Oklahoma State Board of Education for the first time exercised its authority to approve a rural charter school.

The decision was contentious. A local school board had already denied the charter’s application twice, saying it was incomplete and there wasn’t enough support for the school.

The State Board overturned the local board’s decision, which left some wondering who’s really in control of their community.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about lawmakers elected leaders of both parties in the lead up to the 2019 legislative session, the state House passes new controversial rules including a ban on videos by lawmakers on the House floor and the state of Oklahoma is getting ready for a new governor with inaugural parties this weekend.

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An online charter school is closing midyear

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of about 20 parents asked Oklahoma City Public School Board members on Monday to kick former OKC Mayor Kirk Humphreys off the board of a local charter school.

Humphreys recently equated homosexuality to pedophilia while on a Sunday morning talk show, and many John Rex Charter School parents feel his comments were homophobic, and disqualify him from serving on the charter’s board of directors.

For the second time this year, the State Board of Education approved a charter school application that a local school board had previously denied.

A group of parents applied to start Le Monde International School, a French and Spanish Immersion charter school in Norman, but the Norman Public School Board of Education denied their application twice.

Cathy Nashert, the President of the Norman School Board, says the application was not very strong.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

A rural Oklahoma school board recently chose not to approve a charter school in their district. But the State Board of Education exercised authority given to them in a new law and overrode that rural board’s decision. This is the first time this has happened, and it’s got some people wondering—who’s really in charge?

In 2015 Oklahoma lawmakers passed Senate Bill 782, which allowed rural school districts to start charter schools. Prior to this only large, urban school districts could have charters.

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

Emily Wendler / KOSU

There is a debate nationwide over the effectiveness of online education, and Oklahoma isn’t immune to it. Here, enrollment in virtual schools is booming, but the schools are performing poorly. There are also questions about the companies that run these schools and their financial practices.

Opponents to online education say the state should stop supporting virtual schools until there’s more information about them. But, others say they are vital to certain types of students. 

Throughout middle school, Toby Carter’s teachers struggled to keep him challenged.

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