- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Around half of the principals at the 11 high schools in the Oklahoma City district are retiring, resigning or taking another job with the district, and the leader of a teacher union said he hasn’t seen that many vacancies at one time during his more than decade-long tenure.

“I think they’re seeing that there are too many challenges in this district and not the support that they think they need to address those challenges,” said Ed Allen, president of the union that represents the district’s 2,700 teachers.

The turnover follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possible civil rights violations regarding disciplinary actions against students, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1KGHcvs ) reported. Superintendent Rob Neu recently released a report that showed the district suspends minority students at a much higher rate than their white peers.

Neu said in a Wednesday statement that some of the resignations were expected.

“Resignations often occur when an organization is making significant, major improvements,” Neu said. “We were prepared for the fact that making bold, student-focused changes to shift the culture of Oklahoma City Public Schools could very well lead to some resignations and staffing changes.”

Three principals are resigning, two are retiring and one, who served on an interim basis, is expected to oversee the district’s online school on a regular basis. He said many qualified candidates are being interviewed to fill the positions, including current staff.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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