After a lengthy executive session, the State Board of Education voted to change the accreditation of the Oologah-Talala Public School district from fully-accredited, to probation.
"I make a motion to change the Oologah-Talala Public Schools accreditation status from fully accredited to probation for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and continuing through the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally directing state department of education legal counsel to draft a public reprimand to the Oologah-Talala Board of Directors and superintendent outlining the deficiencies that led to this change in accreditation status," said board member Brian Bobek. "Additionally, requiring that the Oologah-Talala board of directors make quarterly reports to the state board of education on what they're doing in this response."
State Board of Education board member, and Claremore Mayor, Bill Flanagan elaborated on what that action meant.
"Basically, it's that Oologah-Talala has had several inappropriate situations involving teachers or supervisors and students. There were so many it was becoming a pattern and the board wanted to send the message to the school district that that wasn't acceptable and they need to establish a plan to deal with this," said Flanagan. "They need to be a lot more proactive in that area of running a school system."
Addressing parent concerns Flanagan said "State funding is still in place, school will still happen. This is about monitoring their progress and ensuring they have policies in place to reduce the likelihood of this happening in the future."
When asked to provide further clarity, Brad Clark, General Counsel for the Oklahoma State Department of Education said: "This means the Oologah-Talala school board must make decisions that improve training for administrators and demand swift reporting and investigation when knowledgeable of misconduct or allegations. In addition, the school board must build a stronger culture of trust and safety for their students. If that body does not hold individuals accountable, the State Board of Education is prepared to.”