In first, college sponsors area charter school

For the first time in college history, OCCC will be the sponsor for an area charter school district.

The OCCC Board of Regents, in regular session Jan. 25, approved a plan for the college to take over sponsorship of Santa Fe South charter school for the next five years.

Santa Fe South serves K-12 students mostly in southwest Oklahoma City. They have nine schools and programs,- serving over 3,600 students. OCCC taking sponsorship means that the college has contractually agreed to oversee and support Santa Fe South’s goals and missions.

Superintendent Chris Brewster said OCCC will be responsible for ensuring that Santa Fe South adheres to the requirements articulated in the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act, and other relevant laws.

“We are energized and honored to enter our next decade of preparing our learners with the support of OCCC,” he said.

The sponsorship is beneficial for OCCC as well. Brewster said the district has agreed to exclusively send its high school students to OCCC when they are seeking to earn college credit — thus increasing the amount of money the college earns through concurrently enrolled students.

Santa Fe South was sponsored by the Oklahoma City Public School District, who gave up sponsorship recently.

OCCC already works closely with the district by housing Pathways Middle College, which is a charter school under Santa Fe South’s umbrella.

Pathways holds all its classes on the third floor of the Main Building and many students in the program earn their associate degree at OCCC before they earn their high school diplomas.

Brewster said combining with OCCC brings more opportunities to students in south Oklahoma City.

“We believe that the matching missions and core values of OCCC and SFS will bring dynamic opportunity to South OKC,” he said.

“There are no two organizations which have stronger reputations for relentless service to, and deep respect for our community, than Oklahoma City Community College and Santa Fe South Charter Schools. We are energized and honored to enter our next decade of preparing our learners with the support of OCCC.” 

Instrumental in the change of sponsorship is Regent Raul Font, who has served as Assistant Superintendent since 2008 according to his Linkden profile.

Font said the connection with Santa Fe South would further OCCC’s investment in the city’s latino population as well as help the college reach one of its central goals which is to be designated as a Hispanic serving institution.

The college would also gain from the partnership, financially.

Interim OCCC President Jeremy Thomas said the college would receive a percentage of the state allotment of funds given to Santa Fe South each year.

The first year the college would receive about $500,000, and that amount will reduce each subsequent year.