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Dependent School Districts Make Case Against Consolidation

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Several superintendents of dependent PK-8 Oklahoma school districts made their case to lawmakers Wednesday against involuntary school consolidations.

Members of the House Common Education Committee heard from the superintendents during an interim study hosted by Representative Lee Denney at the State Capitol. Interim Study H14-016 focused on the past, present and future of these dependent school districts and their importance to rural Oklahoma.

Representative Denney, R-Cushing, said constant pressure from the Legislature to consolidate school districts as a cost savings measure led to Wednesday’s discussion.

One of the arguments against consolidation is that these dependent school districts act almost like charter schools, with waiting list of students whose parents want to send their children to the smaller school. Others testified that the preparation students receive in these schools surpass those in larger districts, and those dependent schools often do not receive state support.

Dependent school districts serve students at lower grade grade levels, often through the eighth grade.

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