Moore Public Schools is preparing for a possible teacher walkout next month by providing parents and students a list of resources for school closures.
In a letter addressed to parents and guardians, MPS Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines informed parents of the planned status of extracurricular activities and services the school provides in addition to education. Romines said that if the Oklahoma State Legislature does not meet teacher pay and public education funding demands in the timeline allowed, Moore Public Schools will close starting the week of April 2.
“Due to the many variables and the ever-changing face of this issue, it is impossible to give you a timeline for school closing other than a week at a time,” Romines said in the letter posted just as spring break began on Friday. “If it appears the walkout will extend beyond April 6, we will get that information to you via the district’s website, social media, infinite campus dialer, text and e-mail.”
Romines also said that if an agreement is reached during the time school is shut down, “school will resume the following day.”
The letter does not mention mandatory state testing. In the build-up to the Oklahoma Education Association’s announcement of teacher walkouts on April 2, the day was chosen because it gives legislators incentive to meet funding demands and allow state testing to go ahead.
Mandatory state testing is tied to federal funding.
Romines listed services and events that would be immediately impacted by a school closing. He said extra-curricular activities will occur “as normally scheduled.” This includes sports, and coaches will notify players and parents of practice times.
Only school-sponsored out of state trips that were previously approved will go ahead as planned.
The scheduled ACT test for high school juniors will proceed on April 3. A plan to help students in need of transportation to sit the test will be announced after Spring Break, Romines said.
Students enrolled in concurrent enrollment or Moore-Norman Technology Center courses through the school will still be responsible for attendance. Much like the ACT test, Romines said a plan to help students in need of transportation is being worked out.
Breakfast and lunch will still be available to any child in the Moore school district, “birth to 18,” throughout a school closure, Romines said. The following locations will offer of the free service: Central, Fairview, Southgate, Bryant, Kelley, Sky Ranch, Kingsgate, Houchin, Santa Fe, Apple Creek, Plaza Towers, Northmoor, and Winding Creek Elementary Schools; Central, Highland West and Moore West junior high schools.
Exact start and end times for breakfasts and lunches will be provided after Spring Break.
“We are fortunate to live in a community that supports public education,” Romines said. “We understand our success is due in large part to the residents of Moore Public Schools who are steadfast supporters of our students, teachers, and staff. I ask for your patience as we navigate through the upcoming weeks.”
Romines also took time to point out some issues with public education funding in Oklahoma. He mentions that teachers have not received a pay raise from the state since 2008 and are, on average, the lowest paid in the country.
Romines said that since that 2007-2008 academic year, MPS has added over 4,000 students and, on average, the district has lost about $8 million in state funding per year.