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Aurora Lora

The superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools said Tuesday that the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program will be “devastating” to students and staff in the majority Hispanic district.

Oklahoma City Public School's Superintendent Aurora Lora and Board of Education member, Mark Mann, announce plans to sue the legislature over education funding.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education is considering legal action against the legislature for underfunding education.

Board member Mark Mann said the Oklahoma Legislature puts mandates on schools without giving them enough money to fulfill the obligations, which he says creates unfunded liabilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools and other districts across the state.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora is considering changing the names of four elementary schools.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Recent violent events in Charlottesville have spurred Oklahoma City Public School board members to consider the significance of school names like Lee, Jackson, Stand Watie, and Wheeler.

The four schools are named after Confederate Civil War officers, and board members have expressed interest in changing the school names.

Superintendent Aurora Lora supports the idea, and said it’s appropriate to consider whether the Confederate officers represent the values of the school district in 2017.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora waits on Board of Education members to emerge from executive session during an April 25, 2016 meeting.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Aurora Lora sent a long email Monday to campus administrators who say morale is low and the district's leadership isn't responding to their concerns.

More than 100 principals and assistant principals signed a letter read during the December 12 school board meeting that said OKCPS leaders are "non-communicative, ineffective, and exert control by force or fear" without collaboration.

Principals in the Oklahoma City Public School district are not pleased with their new superintendent, Aurora Lora, and have concerns about some of the changes she is making. They also contend that over the past two years district administrators have created a very negative climate throughout the schools. 

Capitol Hill Elementary School in south Oklahoma City.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Aurora Lora thanked voters yesterday for approving a $180 million bond issue.

"You know, it's been really wonderful. My phone was dinging all night with people just reaching out saying they're so happy for the school district,” Lora said during a news conference. “And for the teachers and students, just so that we're going to be able to address the issues that we've got, and really get focused on academics now.”

The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration building.
Oklahoma Watch

Data presented at Oklahoma City Public Schools' Monday board meeting show many of the district’s academic goals for the year were not met. 

The goals were set last year during the Great Conversation, which was a series of community meetings where parents and school staff produced goals for the district. They also agreed on specific skills they wanted each child to leave school with.

Monta Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, passes out books to her class in Oklahoma City on August 3, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma City Public School Board members approved a $180 million bond proposal at a special board meeting on Tuesday. The bond will not increase taxes, and instead extends a bond that is set to expire.

Superintendent Aurora Lora said Oklahoma City Public Schools has dire basic needs throughout the district, and the new bond will address transportation, technology, and building maintenance issues.

Superintendent Aurora Lora has officially signed a three year contract with the Oklahoma City Public School District. The new superintendent of the state’s largest school district will make $220,000 a year. Her predecessor, Rob Neu, made $240,000 a year.

The contract, signed on July 29th, states that the Superintendent and Board of Education shall discuss and mutually agree on district goals, that will then be a part of the Superintendent’s evaluation. Lora will be evaluated on those goals no later than June 30th of each year of the contract.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Aurora Lora proposes a revised KIPP charter school expansion plan during a July 18, 2016 board meeting.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

After months of debate, board members of Oklahoma City Public Schools voted to expand KIPP Charter Schools at Monday night’s meeting. But the expansion will not go as originally planned.

KIPP currently runs a middle school out of F.D. Moon Academy, and has been fighting to extend its rigorous academic model within the district. The charter school proposed starting an elementary school in Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and hoped to share space with Douglass High School as well. However, Superintendent Aurora Lora says a task force will do more research to decide the locations.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora waits on Board of Education members to emerge from executive session during an April 25, 2016 meeting.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Friday morning the Oklahoma City school board named interim superintendent Aurora Lora to the district’s top job permanently. She’s led the district since the April separation agreement with Superintendent Rob Neu.

Lora said shortly after the vote she wasn’t surprised by the board’s decision, and plans to work with the community through a series of focus groups to make sure their voices are heard.

With Robert Neu's departure, Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora has stepped into the superintendent's job on an interim basis.
Ilea Shutler / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma City Public Schools acknowledged Tuesday that acting superintendent Aurora Lora has been working for nearly two years without the required certification.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora waits on Board of Education members to emerge from executive session during an April 25, 2016 meeting.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma City Public Schools will end classes two days early this year. The final day for students will be Wednesday, May 25.

Updated 8:31 a.m.

The Board of Education voted 4-2 during a Wednesday breakfast meeting at the Faculty House in Oklahoma City to end the school year two days early as part of a cost-saving measure.

Interim Superintendent Aurora Lora talks with reporters Tuesday about the latest cuts to Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma City Public Schools announced another $10 million in budget cuts on Tuesday. 

Interim superintendent Aurora Lora presented a long list of things that will be eliminated or changed in order to achieve these cost reductions:

(L-R) Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Neu, and Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora
Oklahoma Watch

By any measure, Oklahoma City Public Schools is struggling.

Many schools are underperforming. Thousands of students are falling short in reading or math. Teachers are stressed and say they are underpaid, leading to constant turnover.

Superintendent Rob Neu and Associate Superintendent Aurora Lora spoke to those issues and others at an “Oklahoma Watch-Out” community forum Sept. 30 near downtown Oklahoma City.