Hot Debate Scheduled At Oakland School Closure Proposal Discussion Meeting – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (KPIX) – On Monday night, the Oakland Unified School District will hold a special public meeting to discuss the proposed list of school closures and consolidation for the next two school years.
In 2006, Oakland adopted a small school model to better serve impoverished neighborhoods. But there are people on the school board who think it was a financial mistake and they are looking to change it. And they don’t waste time doing it.
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The proposed closure list was announced to the public on Sunday. Six schools – Brookfield, Carl Munck, Prescott, Grass Valley, Parker, Community Day School – are recommended to close at the end of this school year. Two other schools – Horace Mann Elementary School and Korematsu Discovery Academy – will close next year, their students then transferred to other schools.
Additionally, the three schools will merge into other campuses later this school year with Manzanita Community School moving to join Fruitvale Elementary School next year.
On Monday, Manzanita’s parent Tania Chi said she thinks it will have a huge impact on low-income families at school.
“I think parents are going to have to get up and move,” she said. “They’re going to have to reschedule a lot of their day and we don’t have much help throughout the day.”
Oakland Unified officials said they are seeking community engagement by holding a special meeting on Monday. However, that meeting took place just a day after the list was announced. Board members said they plan to vote on the proposal eight days later at another special meeting scheduled for February 8.
“How are we going to participate?” Regina Morones, an employee of Manzanita said that since 2006 when the school was first established. “How are we going to say anything? How will we appear in the board meeting if it is zoomed in? So for me, it’s all a strategy to ensure as little pushback as possible.”
Board of Directors Chairman Gary Yee said OUSD has too many small, under-enrolled schools, and it’s a financial burden that prevents the district from providing adequate service to the community. He said larger, more regional schools would save money that could go into higher teacher salaries and be more efficient.
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Although the district isn’t currently in a financial crisis, Yee said there’s no point in waiting for things to get worse.
When asked if it made sense to hold a vote just eight days after the final list was made public, Yee replied: “Ummm… I understand the anger, the worries and the anxiety. I believe the process is comprehensive and detailed enough for us to consider. ”
As for holding the public meeting the day after the list was revealed, Yee added that anyone’s mind would be changed either way.
“It’s hard for people to consider something different from what they’re used to,” he said.
But what the community gets from Manzanita seems to be quite important. The school has a stockpile of food, clothing and school supplies for families who cannot afford it. But they also have everyday staples like toilet paper and toothbrushes.
Afterschool program director Angela Phung said that could change if the children had to move to an area school.
“They won’t be able to get what they need for the family,” she said.
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OUSD’s mission statement says it strives to be a “full-service community.” Parents whose children attend schools affected by the proposal are left wondering how far they will have to go to access the proposal.
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/01/31/heated-debate-expected-at-meeting-to-discuss-proposed-oakland-school-closures/ Hot Debate Scheduled At Oakland School Closure Proposal Discussion Meeting – CBS San Francisco