Skip to content

Oakland school board to review school closures list, terms better defined

on September 27, 2011

A list of schools recommended for closure by superintendent Tony Smith was released on the OUSD’s website through a PowerPoint presentation Saturday. The details are lengthy—nearly 40 pages—and complex.

A PowerPoint slide that will be presented to OUSD board members on Tuesday aims to illustrate school closure criteria.

The report lays out details that explain what “closure,” “grade configuration change,” and “quality expansion”—all terms that will be used extensively at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting—really mean for Oakland schools.

The preliminary list of 10 schools recommended for closure three weeks ago has changed.

Now, five elementary schools are recommended for actual closure in 2012—Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell, and Sante Fe. If the OUSD accepts this recommendation, these schools’ buildings will be shuttered and their 959 students will have to be relocated.

In addition, two elementary schools formerly on the chopping block—Burckhalter and Kaiser—are now being proposed for “quality expansion,” meaning that by August 2013 both schools could be relocated or undergo construction for growth.

According to Troy Flint, OUSD’s spokesperson, plans to reduce the large number of schools in the city will no longer span three years; the superintendent wants it done in two. His goal is permanent closure of 20 to 30 of the 101 schools now operating in Oakland’s district.

“It may be biting off too big of a chunk,”  Flint said Monday in a telephone interview. “But there are benefits in doing this quickly, and concentrating the pain instead of dragging it out.”

Flint said he wanted to be clear. “This is not a repudiation of the small schools movement,” he said. “We just have to be responsible financially.”

If the board accepts Smith’s recommendation, several high schools on the Fremont and Castlemont campuses—Youth Empowerment School, College Prep & Architecture, Mandela Academy, Media Academy, Leadership Preparatory, Information Technology School of Arts, and East Oakland’s School of the Arts—will be fused into a total of two schools.

Under “grade configuration change” (changing the grade level at a particular school), Smith’s recommendation suggests a merger between Sobrante Park Elementary and Madison Middle School, which would create a K-12 school in just over a year.

OUSD board members could decline all of these recommendations. Because the school restructuring issue has attracted so much attention and controversy the meeting has been moved to Oakland High School on MacArthur Boulevard at 5 pm. This meeting will only be a first discussion. Flint said a decision on his recommendations would be made on October 26.

“If the list was declined, we would have to regroup at that point—send staff back to the drawing board, or get rid of the idea of school closures all together,” Flint said.


correction: In an earlier version of story, quotes by OUSD spokesperson Troy Flint were mistakenly attributed to schools superintendent Tony Smith.  Oakland North regrets the error.  

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top