Neu criticizes Common Core repeal, changes hiring process

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Neu (Shannon Cornman)

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Neu (Shannon Cornman)

Oklahoma City school superintendent Robert Neu said the governor’s decision to repeal Common Core standards, and the state Supreme Court’s vote to uphold Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision, put the district in a “real difficult position.”

Neu, who has been at the head of the OKC Public School District for 15 days, attended his second school board meeting Monday evening and said he had spent the past two weeks meeting with various school officials and community leaders.

Monday’s meeting also included a report from Rod McKinley, chief human resources officer for the district, who told the school board the district faces hiring challenges due to a combination of factors, including low pay, a lack of relocation packages and a system where principals do the bulk of teacher hiring.

“That hurts us when we are trying to go out and compete [for teachers],” McKinley said about Oklahoma’s ranking the bottom five in the nation when it comes to teacher pay.

Neu said he was transforming the human resources department into a year-round recruiter of teachers, taking the burden off principals.

“We have to take off our principals a responsible central office can provide,” Neu said. “Right now it is our principals’ responsibility to go out and hire teachers … we need to increase human resource activity. Human resources are going into a 365 day calendar of recruiting, sorting and vetting the candidates.”

With classes scheduled to begin Aug. 4, the district has five schools with staffing levels under 75 percent, McKinley said.

Ben Felder

Ben is an urban affairs reporter covering local government and education in Oklahoma City. He lives in OKC with his wife, Lori, and son, Satchel. Ben holds a masters in new media journalism from Full Sail University and is an OKC transplant from Kansas City, Mo. Twitter: @benfelder_okg

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