Kevin, Erick, Erika and Elizabeth Romero check out the free school supplies booth, which was down to a handful of pens and notepads by early afternoon.

On Saturday morning parents, students, volunteers and school district staff held hands as they danced to the beat of a drum in the gymnasium of Fruitvale’s United Academy for Success as part the Oakland Unified School District’s first Back to School Festival. They formed a circle, led by members of the Medicine Warriors, a Native American dance troupe. “This dance signifies friendship and unity,” George Galvis of the Native American community center Intertribal Friendship House said to the crowd.

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Teachers searching for new jobs and parents looking for new childcare options got some last-minute good news—the seven childhood development centers slated to close last Friday due to budget cuts will remain open for another month. The Oakland Unified School District announced it was allocating $400,000 in federal stimulus money to keep the centers running through the end of August.

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