Proposition 39, also known as the “Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability Act,” was passed by voters in 2000, and requires all California school districts to provide equivalent facilities to charter schools and the students who choose to attend them. The ballot initiative was based on the premise that students who attend charter schools would have otherwise attended district schools, so the district should have planned to accommodate those students with space and resources. To be “equivalent” means that the district must provide resources and facilities to a charter school that match what they provide children at schools in the same part of the district, and according to the proposition’s text, they must be “contiguous, furnished and equipped, and shall remain the property of the school district.”

Read More
Interim AIMS executive director Sylvester Hodges addresses the OUSD board at the public hearing Wednesday. Photo by Lauren Kawana.

About three dozen American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) students and parents took turns Wednesday, each speaking for one minute, hoping to convince the Oakland school board that their three schools shouldn’t be shut down. The board voted in January to give the AIMS administration a “notice of intent to revoke” the schools’ charters after alleging fraud and financial mismanagement at the schools.

Read More

On October 26 representatives from three of Oakland’s public elementary schools –ASCEND, Learning Without Limits, and Lazear—presented petitions to the school board to convert into charter schools. Closing the five schools, by the school district’s estimate, would save about $2 million. But if these three schools become charters, the district could lose as many as 1000 students from its rolls, pulling more than $4 million from OUSD.

Read More

Three weeks after the OUSD board voted 5-2 to close five elementary schools—Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe—and relocate or merge several other schools, parents and staff affected by the closures are working to figure out what they will do. Their array of “options,” which will be handled by “transition coordinators,” includes no guarantees.

Read More