“We did submit a balanced budget,” said Troy Flint, the spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District, of the interim budget report board members approved Tuesday, “but, we’re headed towards potentially the biggest mid-year cuts in the history of California.”
In their first meeting since the November election, Oakland’s school board members reflected somberly on the near-passage of Measure L, the $195 property tax that would have raised $20 million per year for ten years, increasing salaries for school employees.
Measure L, the $195 parcel tax that would have raise money for teacher salary increases, was receiving 58 percent approval in early returns tonight, with just over 10 percent of precincts reporting. But that fell short of the two-thirds supermajority required in California to pass any new tax increase.
Not all Oaklanders will be looking at the same ballot tomorrow: while every resident is eligible to vote for citywide offices, the winners of several local offices will be determined by voters in specific districts. To see which offices and candidates you’ll have a chance to vote for, check out Oakland North’s political district maps.
Although three of the seven board members are up for re-election in November, only one seat is being challenged. Incumbents David Kakishiba and Christopher Dobbins have no opposition, and so will automatically retain their school board seats. But Gary Yee, the current board president, has an opponent who is also a longtime adversary—former teachers’ union president Ben Visnick.
Superintendent Tony Smith got personal while talking reform and student performance expectations Tuesday at the Oakland Unified School District’s Region 1 Teacher’s Dialogue. The meeting, which was the third in a series of teacher outreach meetings being held this month, brought roughly 25 teachers to North Oakland’s Sankofa Academy. The dialogues are supposed to give teachers a chance to understand the administration’s vision and talk directly to the superintendent.
Students and staff from Oakland Technical High School presented the school board with more than 700 signatures Wednesday night, asking the district to support tenured statistics teacher Evelyn Francisco, who faces deportation back to the Philippines if her visa is not renewed before December.
Before the state finalized its budget on Friday, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) had already made $122 million in cuts for the 2010-2011 school year, and had scheduled several child development centers for closure. Superintendant Tony Smith had called the further cuts “a possibility,” a scenario which district officials now say will be unlikely.