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Board Approves TPS to Enter into Leases with Charter Schools for Wright, Mark Twain Elementaries

Tulsa Public Schools

Mark Twain and Wright elementary schools will be occupied by charter schools next year.

The Tulsa Public Schools Board approved the district to enter into leases with Collegiate Hall for Wright and KIPP Tulsa for Mark Twain.

There was some pushback on the proposal. Board member Jennettie Marshall said a four-person review of the charter schools’ applications is not an official district policy, and she would rather see that set before voting on the applications.

The board approved them with a promise to adopt the process used as policy for future lease applications.

"What example to we want to leave for our students? If we're going to do it, let's do it right from day one, not go ahead and do this and then come back and fix what we messed up," Marshall said.

Mark Twain and Wright are two of the four elementary schools closed at the end of the school year to help TPS close a $20 million budget gap.

Collegiate Hall currently shares space at Marshall Elementary.

"One reason we applied to move to the Wright building is so we can have our own library. We also share a gym, cafeteria and playground. Some of our students have to walk outside to their classrooms in trailers, even in poor weather," said Collegiate Hall Board Chair David Poarch.

KIPP parent Lavon Clark said the school has bounced from place to place on short notice each year her son has attended.

"I just want us to have a permanent location he can look back on and say, 'Here's where I went to high school and graduated from,'" Clark said.

Collegiate Hall and KIPP Tulsa were the only applicants when TPS solicited potential tenants for the schools.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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