Education

State board tells OUSD school closures violated labor law

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education’s decision last year to close or merge schools violated labor law, the California Public Employee Relations Board said in a proposed decision released this week.  The PERB report says the decision to close or merge 11 schools violated the Educational Employee Relations Act — which establishes collective bargaining in California public schools and community colleges — because it was made “without providing notice and the opportunity to bargain the effects of that decision…

‘Guess what I just found out — I won the election’: counting error puts Hutchinson on top in OUSD race

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has acknowledged a mistake in the way votes were tallied in November, leading to a change in the District 4 Oakland Unified School District election outcome. Mike Hutchinson, who seemingly came in last place, actually won, Hutchinson announced on Facebook Dec. 28. That day, the registrar posted on the county election site that its ranked-choice voting system “was not configured properly” for the November election. It said that only one outcome was affected —…

My Oakland Agenda: Oaklanders share their visions for the town

In between bites from a chicken and veggie sandwich, Oakland resident Connor Hunter, 9, read aloud from a poster he had just signed at Lincoln Summer Nights, a community event hosted by a coalition of local organizations. The prompt: “If you were an elected official in Oakland, what would your first act be?” “I wrote that if I was elected mayor, I would give $500,000 to businesses in Oakland because it would help the community and businesses grow. I could…

With election, OUSD board could have votes needed to overturn school closures

Two of the three newly elected Oakland Unified school board members say they want to reverse this year’s controversial decision to close schools. That means the board could have the majority needed to rescind the motion.  Jennifer Brouhard, who was elected in District 2, and Valarie Bachelor, who was elected in District 6, are against the closures. Current members Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Williams consistently have been opposed to the closures. Combined, they will make up the majority of the…

6 victims and at least 2 shooters in Wednesday’s Oakland school shooting

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said Thursday that at least two shooters fired 30 or more rounds on the King Estates school campus in East Oakland Wednesday afternoon, wounding six adults, two of whom are students.  Armstrong added that police know a driver was involved and possibly others. Police have made no arrests but believe the shooting was gang-related. Armstrong said police also think the shooters had a target and that those who were shot were not targeted. Oakland city…

Big enrollment drop: OUSD starts school year with 600 fewer students

For the fifth consecutive school year, enrollment is down in the Oakland Unified School District, the administration told the school board at its meeting Wednesday.  Though students are still enrolling, the population is at 33,762, a loss of more than 600 students. As a result, the district will see a decrease in the amount of money it receives from the state.  The news did not surprise some community members at the meeting, who said the board’s decision in February to…

For some Laney College students, Biden’s debt forgiveness plan brings a fresh start

The first thing Milan Merchant did when he heard all of his student loans would be forgiven was take his mom and younger brothers out to Olive Garden for bottomless breadsticks to celebrate. Merchant, 27, studies biology and psychology at Laney Community College in Oakland. He hopes to transition from a program specialist for special needs children to becoming a neurologist, so he can help others like himself who suffer from migraines. When the college announced free tuition this fall,…

OUSD cuts attendance positions, despite nationwide ‘crisis’ in absenteeism

Oakland Unified started the school year this week without its five network attendance liaisons, whose sole job was to keep kids coming to school, even as the district struggles to get a handle on absenteeism.  The School Board cut the jobs when it approved the 2022-23 budget on June 29. Weeks earlier, Ilene Fortune, a network attendance liaison who stood to be out of work, tried to impress upon the board that eliminating the positions would be detrimental to the…

OUSD board appoints member of mayor’s staff to fill Gonzales’ seat

The Oakland Unified School District board selected Kyra Mungia, the deputy director of education for the mayor’s office, as the provisional District 6 director Wednesday. Mungia won the seat against eight other applicants in a 4-2 vote during a special board meeting, with directors Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Willaims voting no. She replaces Shanthi Gonzales, who abruptly resigned in May, and will hold the appointment until Gonzales’ term expires on Jan 2. An election for the four-year seat will take…