The Oakland Unified School District’s controversial proposal to close five elementary schools this fall, and more in coming years, follows a multi-year program of encouraging small small schools–subdividing bigger facilities into multiple smaller ones, each with fewer students and a more intimate climate. But funding and enrollment changes have pushed the district to what promises to be an emotional meeting and vote Wednesday night.

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First it was chants of “O-T, O-T” that echoed throughout the Laney College gym Saturday. The happy players and coaches of Oakland Tech were celebrating their Oakland Athletic League girls basketball championship, a 72-42 win over Skyline High. A couple hours later, that scene was repeated. This time, it was chants of “Cas-tle, Cas-tle,” as the Castlemont High boys team celebrated its 67-65 win over Oakland High.

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