School Board

School budget woes strain the bonds between Oakland foster youth and their case managers

There are just under 400 foster youth attending Oakland schools, and for many, one person at their school is dedicated to them: their case manager. This counselor provides support and offers one-on-one guidance—academically and for other issues that may arise outside of school. The Oakland Unified School District has four case managers for foster youth, but their jobs were threatened in March, when the school board passed budget cuts eliminating their positions. After a sustained effort by students to push…

Oakland Unified School District plans to eliminate 100 classified workers’ positions

Melvin Phillips has worked in Oakland schools for the last 27 years. He is currently the lead school security officer at Fremont High School and he is one of hundreds of classified employees in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Classified workers include instructional specialists like classroom support staff and tutors, administrative workers, custodians, security officers, and other school staff. During the Oakland teachers’ strike last month, classified workers joined the teachers on the picket lines in a sympathy strike….

Oakland City Council gives schools $1.2 million in one-time funding for the school year

Last Tuesday, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution to provide $1.2 million in funding for the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) restorative justice program, foster youth case manager positions, and school libraries. All three programs were at risk of enacting widespread layoffs or reductions to the services they provide following the Oakland school board’s vote last month to cut about $22 million from the district’s budget. When introducing the resolution, Council President Rebecca Kaplan (at-large) highlighted how each of…

Faced with budget cuts, the future of school libraries in Oakland is uncertain

While the teachers’ strike ended weeks ago, the Oakland Unified School District’s financial troubles are far from over. Less than 24 hours after the strike, on March 4, the school board narrowly voted to cut $22 million dollars from next year’s budget. The move was to keep the district from financial ruin, but school libraries are among the programs being affected by the cuts. We focused on the story of just one library at Frick Impact Academy in East Oakland…

At Oakland school board meeting, debate over school closures and charter schools intensifies

Tensions from the recent Oakland teachers’ strike were still reverberating among attendees during a special meeting for the Board of Education on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people filled the auditorium at La Escuelita Education Complex, holding small green signs that set the theme for the night. One side of the signs read “No new charters.” On the other: “No school closures.” Many in the crowd wore the black and green of the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—or red, the…

Oakland’s schools are open again, but tension remains over budget cuts, teacher contract

The Oakland teachers’ strike officially ended on Sunday evening, but the debate over their contract and district budget cuts is still not over. The vote on Sunday was far from unanimous. Members of the teachers’ union—the Oakland Education Association—gathered at the Paramount Theater for four hours of debate before voting on whether or not to approve the tentative agreement, or TA, reached by union and the Oakland Unified School District. Teachers held signs that read “Say no to the sellout…

Teachers, Oakland school district strike a tentative deal

On Friday afternoon, just as Oakland’s school board meeting was supposed to start, a union representative wearing red–the symbol of the “Red for Ed” movement that has galvanized teachers’ strikes across the nation–stepped in front of the crowd and announced that teachers and school officials had reached a tentative four-year agreement. If ratified, it will end the strike that has shut down Oakland schools for the last seven days. Among the provisions: Teachers will receive an 11 percent raise, as…