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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Superintendent Tony Smith listens as a member of the public speaks against the OUSD police shooting of a 20-year-old man on Saturday.

Teachers in Oakland can expect a 2 percent raise next year, but that was the only positive budget news from Wednesday night’s school board meeting. The district is expecting to lose more of its state funding this year, is running low on much of its one-time-use federal funding and continues to struggle with low enrollment.

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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.

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