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Board of education approves schools accreditations

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Five Oklahoma school districts and one private school have drawn warnings from the state Board of Education for a variety of deficiencies.

The board accredited the schools on Thursday in spite of the deficiencies. No school districts were placed on probation and none failed to be accredited for the coming school year.

A total of 484 public and CareerTech districts and private schools were accredited with no deficiencies. Another 68 districts had one deficiency and 43 had more than one.

Districts that were accredited with warnings were Kildare, Lone Wolf, Prague, Ryal and Asher. Wesleyan Christian School in Washington County also drew warnings.

Sharon Lease, assistant superintendent with the Accreditation and Standards Division, said accreditation with a warning means that a school site does not meet one or more standards, seriously distracting from the quality of the school's educational program.

In 2004-05, 489 districts and private schools were accredited with no deficiencies. In 2003-04, 530 were. Last year, seven districts drew warnings. Only one drew a warning in 2003-04.

One district was accredited with probation in 2004-05. In 2003-04, no districts drew probation.

State Superintendent of Schools Sandy Garrett told board members that the state will lose $959,754 in federal Title I money because the adjusted 2002 U.S. Census shows Oklahoma has fewer people in poverty.

But Garrett said the state will receive $4.8 million in Title III federal money designated for teaching English language learning skills.

Garrett said the number of students with limited English proficiency has increased to about 24,000 in the state.

"Obviously we could always use more funding in these areas, however, with the dramatic increase of Title III money, that will also assist in closing the gap," Garrett said.

Many urban districts will see federal funding increases, but rural Oklahoma schools will see the biggest loses. Lawton Public Schools will lose about $102,000, Woodward $38,000 and Poteau $22,000, officials said.
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