After weeks of public meetings and intense discussion with parents and teachers, the Oakland Unified School District board voted unanimously Wednesday night to shut down three schools in the district by the end of June 2010.
Enraged teachers rallied before the OUSD school board meeting last night demanding just contracts. At the meeting the board addressed a $14 million district shortfall and the potential closure of Tilden Elementary School, BEST High School, Paul Robeson School of Visual and Performing Arts, and Explore Middle School.
This weekend, the school district published recommendations for “focus schools” that have been singled out for their struggles with low enrollment, low academic performance, or both. The possibilities for all the schools on this list included closure, restructuring or conversion to charter.
At last night’s meeting, board members heard a pitch for what would become the district’s 33rd charter school–as well as learning that nearly half the city’s school-age children are now in charter schools, independent schools, or home-schooling.
Board members relocated their weekly meeting to Chabot last night, and added to their agenda a special recognition of North Oakland school volunteers.
Nearly 100 teachers picketed and leafleted last night’s school board meeting, pleading for a contract and better wages, while the Oakland district countered with its own flyers and warnings about certain schools that could be closed or turned into charters.
There were homemade brownies and ginger cookies at the town hall meeting Wednesday, where people had gathered to meet and ask questions of Tony Smith, the new superintendent of Oakland schools. School Board Director Jody London, who baked the goodies, had set up the event and welcomed the overflowing room of parents, administrators and district employees. When Smith took the floor he said he saw his job as “the most wonderful, incredible opportunity,” and though he was honest about the…
Oakland’s new superintendent of schools, who’ll be participating in a public town hall at North Oakland’s International High School this Wednesday, talks to reporter Lillian R. Mongeau about the achievement gap, the challenge of useful teacher evaluations, and “cutting zeros off the budget.”
After six years of state control, the Oakland Unified School District resumed local control last week and new Superintendent Tony Smith, an Oakland native, was inducted into office. But what exactly does this mean for Oakland residents in terms of change? Not much, apparently. While the OUSD Board will now be in a position to make independent decisions – versus advising a state administrator – the looming budget crisis seems to be tying everyone’s hands. One reason why school officials…