ENID, Okla – Enid’s Lincoln Academy is on its way to becoming the hub for alternative education in Northwest Oklahoma under a new agreement with area school districts.
Enid Public Schools board members on Monday approved a tentative, year-long cooperative agreement allowing students from potentially 10 other surrounding school districts to attend the district’s alternative education center.
Boards of education for the school districts will now have to approve the agreement deeming EPS the local education agency at their own board meetings, district officials said Monday.
According to EPS, the districts invited to participate are Pioneer-Pleasant Vale, Cimarron, Billings, Covington-Douglas, Ringwood, Drummond, Kremlin-Hillsdale, Timberlake, Waukomis and Garber.
If approved, beginning July 1 through June 30, 2023, Lincoln will hold at least one seat for each school district, but there is no maximum or minimum limit of students who may be admitted. Enid would maintain attendance records and disciplinary policy, while cooperative districts would keep transcripts and issue graduates their diplomas.
Districts would re-allocate their annual funding – estimated at around $ 6,000 – from the state Department of Education’s alternative education program, EPS Superintendent Darrell Floyd said Monday.
Floyd said other schools had talked to him about the idea “for a while now.”
According to the EPS, the district lost $ 100,000 in alternative education funding this fiscal year after the state’s funding mechanism changed.
“I think it can be a win-win for us,” Floyd said.
The cooperative would be the first time Lincoln, at 600 W. Elm, would accept area students from outside the school district since it opened over 20 years ago, Lincoln Principal Tommy Parker said.
“We’re here for kids, and certainly if a kid has the need for an alternative setting, we don’t want to have to say no to that child,” Parker said.
A committee would supervise the application process for out-of-district students, Parker said, and travel options would be up to home districts, parents or students.
Parker said he believed other smaller districts with fewer students in their programs likely had had more difficulty meeting 16 program criteria required by state statute to qualify as an alternative education program and thereby receive state funding.
Enid’s is one of three alternative education schools in the state rated “highly effective” in evaluations from the state, he said.
Students in Oklahoma’s alternative education program are considered “at-risk” for high school failure for various reasons such as academic deficiency, behavior difficulties and excessive absences, according to OSDE. Programs are then tailored to meet students’ needs through flexible scheduling, small class sizes, goal-setting, career skills and so on.
Fifty Lincoln students are set to graduate with their high school diploma this week, following an annual recognition ceremony set for Tuesday, Parker said. The center also provides adult education courses for students to receive their GEDs.