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PM NewsBrief: Dec. 4, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, December 4, 2023.

No New State Rules For Insight Virtual Alternative Education School

Insight School of Oklahoma will continue as an all-virtual, alternative education school.

The State Department of Education has decided against enacting new rules that would have meant the end of Insight.

Insight serves about 1,100 students across the state through a virtual platform.

But that would have been put in jeopardy if newly proposed administrative rule changes were enacted.

The proposed rules originally would have required students to be in-person for at least four hours everyday — a demand that would have been untenable for the school and its students.

But after receiving backlash in public comments, State Superintendent Ryan Walters said the department was going to leave the rules “as-is,” at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting.

Insight Head of School Jennifer Wilkinson thanked the board for the changes during the meeting’s public comment period.

"The revisions to the proposed rules protect Insight’s students’ ability to thrive in the environment that’s right for them. Thank you for listening to our students, our families, our staff and other advocates and supporting school choice in Oklahoma," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said in a statement the school can now return its focus back to students.

Yukon Public Schools Plans To Open Transition House

A metro-area school district plans to open a transition house for students with special needs.

Yukon Public Schools is working on renovating a home they say will help students live independently once they graduate.

The district is looking at using a three-bedroom house on Garth Brooks Blvd next to the middle school as a transition home for high school students with special needs.

Superintendent Jason Simeroth says this place will allow special needs students to gain the skills they need to live independently...everything from mowing the lawn to cooking dinner. But before any of that can happen, the 1970s house needs to be renovated to make it ADA accessible.

Simeroth estimates around $150,000 will be needed to make all the necessary upgrades.

The district already owns the property. The home was purchased when the original plan was to expand the old high school.

Proposed “Sooner Village” Under Consideration In Norman

A new housing and shopping district is under consideration for south Norman.

It's called Sooner Village, and would be developed at the southeast corner of Highway 9 and Jenkins Avenue, near O-U’s Lloyd Noble Center.

The development would include hotels, apartments, townhouses, corporate spaces, storage areas and shopping plazas.

At a pre-development meeting last week, residents expressed concerns about stormwater drainage affecting the surrounding area.

Some people also asked developers about wildlife protection and green spaces.

The development is expected to go before the Norman planning commission this month. Later, the city council will have the final say on whether construction can begin.

Sooner Village is one of two major developments in talks right now. The other is a proposed $1 billion entertainment district in north Norman.

New Dental Care Options For Some SoonerCare Members

Select SoonerCare members can now choose between two dental plans that will begin coverage on February 1st.

The plans are open to Soonercare members transitioning to SoonerSelect, which includes mainly children, pregnant women and adults in SoonerCare’s expansion group.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has contracted with DentaQuest and LIBERTY Dental. They’ll administer the dental component of SoonerSelect.

The plans are designed to encourage preventative care, reduce the need for high-cost procedures, and expand provider and specialist networks.

They will cover the same services currently offered by SoonerCare plus additional benefits without any changes to current eligibility requirements.

Members have until Jan. 10 to pick a plan. Otherwise, the Health Care Authority will enroll them in one on their behalf.

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