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education

Ada City Schools Superintendent Pat Harrison says his district will save about $30,000 by cutting six days from the remainder of the school year.
Richard R. Barron / The Ada News

Oklahoma requires one of the shortest school years in the nation, in terms of instructional days.

But that hasn’t stopped a growing number of districts from ending their school year early this year or moving to four-day weeks to deal with cutbacks in state funding.

Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Rob Neu addresses reporters during an April 21, 2015 news conference about the district's discipline practices toward minority students.
Oklahoma Watch / YouTube

Oklahoma City Public Schools said Friday 92 administrative positions will be eliminated in order to save about $5 million in the 2016/2017 school year. That's about an 18 percent reduction in the overall administrative workforce.

59 of those jobs will be at the Central Office, and 33 will be at campuses throughout the district. That comes on top of the 208 teacher position cuts announced last month.

Students in Stephanie Gragg’s English class prepare for a test at Midwest City High School.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

State lawmakers could be close to eliminating end-of-instruction tests in favor of a single exam that’s recognized across the country.

House Bill 1622 gets rid of nine exams that all students take, but aren’t required by federal law. The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports the bill also lets the State Department of Education decide which tests high schoolers take to graduate:

The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration building.
Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma City Public Schools district proposes addressing racial disparities in discipline through an “intense process” of reforms, an attorney for the district told the school board Monday evening.

The proposal is intended to resolve a 2014 complaint being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that the school district disciplined minority students more frequently and more harshly.

elementary school library
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The top Republican in the Oklahoma House pledged education cuts in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget won’t exceed 5 percent.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said his GOP colleagues want to send a message to local schools.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss two sides of international education. China has charged an education advocate in Tibet with inciting separatism, and a one-room basement library in Afghanistan is providing books to citizens once ruled by the Taliban.

Then contributor Joshua Landis talks with Jeffrey Mankoff from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He argues the U.S. tried to outsource solving the Ukraine crisis onto German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They’ll also discuss Russia’s involvement in Syria.

high school library
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Dozens of Oklahoma school districts sued the State Department of Education Monday for allegedly miscalculating the education funding formula for 22 years.

The lawsuit filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court says counties that use a commercial and agricultural personal property tax assessment ratio above 11 percent can keep the extra revenue for the local school district.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister delivers a speech during the 2015 EngageOK conference in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma State Department of Education / Facebook

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has canceled its annual summer conference because of looming budget cuts.

Thousands of teachers attended the 2015 event at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, and eCapitol’s Christie Southern reports it’s typically used as free professional development for teachers as an opportunity to review federal education requirements. This year teachers were also expected to discuss the new Oklahoma Academic Standards:

Alicia Priest is president of the Oklahoma Education Association based in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Proposed changes to state law meant to give more financial control to school districts could make it harder to hire teachers.

Senate Bill 1187 by state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, would let school districts opt out of the state-funded health insurance coverage, the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System, and the minimum salary schedule.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma City Public Schools announced Wednesday it will cut 208 teaching positions next year. District officials are attributing the move to what they're calling a catastrophic budget crisis.

Superintendent Rob Neu says he's not sure which teachers will be affected just yet.

"It is my hope that all 208 will be through natural attrition, whether it be retirement, or people leaving the profession, or transferring," Neu said.

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