Education

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…

Community to OUSD: ‘You have the opportunity … stop this whole madness’

Chanting “Whose schools? Our schools,” parents, teachers and community members erupted into protest at Wednesday’s Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting, prompting the board to recess the meeting and move it online. Protesters approached the dais with signs that read, “Hands off our schools” and “No school closures” after the board failed to act on their proposed resolution to rescind the closures of seven schools, including Parker K-8 and Community Day, which closed at the end of this…

School board considers putting tax for career programs on fall ballot

The Oakland Unified School District board is scheduled to vote June 22 on whether to put Measure N, which funds career pathways programs, on the Nov. 8 ballot.  The school board agreed at its Wednesday meeting to ask voters if they want to continue paying a $120 per-parcel tax to support Measure N, which Oakland voters approved in 2014 to be in effect for 10 years. The money, according to the OUSD website, is used for programs to reduce the…

‘It’s not going to be the same’: For one family, life will get harder when Parker school closes

Azlinah Tambu leaves her studio apartment off 73rd Avenue at 3:50 p.m. With enough time to pick up her younger daughter, Nasira, from after-school care at Parker K-8. She brings a set of keys, her phone and a bag of Cheetos. Before she locks the door, she makes sure she has her keys.  Parker is eight blocks away and less than a 10 minute walk. Along the way, Tambu exchanges hellos with a man sitting outside the corner store whom…